Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Strength, Courage and Humor

"Don't wish me happiness. I don't expect to be happy. It's gotten beyond that, somehow. Wish me courage and strength and a sense of humor. I will need them all."
~Anne Morrow Lindbergh

No human being ever is without tests. We can't live in society, in our fragile bodies and gamete of emotions without something taking us to the mats and slamming us full force to the point where we wonder how we get the air back in our lungs.

It's how we handle ourselves, our strength, courage and sense of humor that dictates how we breathe again.

I think of a recent picture of a friend waiting for her chemo treatment, bald head exposed and pinky finger at her mouth imitating Dr. Evil selling chemo treatments for one MILLION dollars. Her humor and grace always winning over cancer that keeps trying to knock it out of her.

It's often in those tests that we long for humor to save our minds and help us cope. I read an article recently about how Jews in concentration camps used humor to ease the horrible circumstances. During times of conflict, our military can occasionally have the pleasure of comedians coming to lift their spirits. The movie Patch Adams comes to mind as an example of changing the face of illness to include fun and laughter as necessary additions to our mental and physical recovery.

Too often I've witnessed circumstances crush someone's spirit to the point of giving up a part of themselves. It's easy to fall into the "whoa is me" mindset. Play the sad songs and hide from life. You can decide to never laugh, smile, sing, dance or do any of the things that make life beautiful.

Maya Angelou wrote, "Self-pity in its early stages is as snug as a feather mattress. Only when it hardens does it become uncomfortable."

I'll be the first to admit the snugness of that feather bed at times. But I'll also admit it was always my fault for being there. I let the circumstances win over my spirit. Not everyone can take off their scarf, strike a silly pose and laugh while waiting for whatever horrible treatment or experience you can't avoid. But those that find that ability possess the amazing talent to face the Scrooges of life with determination and a smile. That takes strength, courage, and humor.  And what's the alternative? Weakness, fear, and sadness just sounds tragic.

So I applaud everyone out there this holiday season who is shining brightly despite whatever hardship you're facing. And for those of you still looking for your light may you find strength, courage, and humor to help you through.

"Look, I don't want to wax philosophic, but I will say that if you're alive you've got to flap your arms and legs, you've got to jump around a lot, for life is the very opposite of death, and therefore you must at very least think noisy and colorfully, or you're not alive."
Mel Brooks

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