Don’t Just Stand There – Put Up Your Dukes!

Life happens. That’s what he said.

What does that mean?  I mean, that is what I thought when he had said it.  How can I apply that to my life – or better yet, how can I control life with that statement? 

And now, weeks later, I feel it has finally sunk in, making the connections between understanding a statement – the literal sense of it, and really the resonation that goes deeper than thought. 

As difficult as it seems, as my mind tries to conquer all, the resonation has me realizing that I have been standing like a deer in life’s headlights.  Frozen, I’ve been standing there, not breathing, while I awaited an impossible mercy, screaming, “STOP!” as I stuck my hands out in front of me in the direction of the oncoming impact.   

My summer consisted of illness – my own.  It was a little too quick on the tails of my father’s illness last fall from which he almost lost the fight with life.  My illness felt like it was opening his incisions from inside me.  Fear took over – fear of what might lie ahead for me to bear in a lifetime.  His suffering had seemed unbearable, and at times I wondered if it had even been worth it.  But he stepped out of those headlights, and life is once more for his taking.

My illness is now gone – that’s what the tests all say.  I don’t feel completely well and wonder if what I am feeling is still just some residual effect of the illness.  Will it pass with time or is there something else there lurking in the darkness of organs and blood?

Now my husband is fighting a mystery illness.  Blood tests show something “weird” with his blood.  And on top of that my sister has been diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy.  It’s hard not to feel overwhelmed and depressed.  I feel so out of control.  Too much suffering seems to be surrounding me. 

My sister told me she spent two days on the couch.  I worry that she is depressed.  I want to tell her to get up and do something!! I don’t want her to suffer!!! And I don’t want her to give up!  But I don’t know what to do for her. 

As is my normal course of action, when I feel that life is just too much for me, I spend time in my home puttering about, cleaning, organizing and baking.  It’s rather healing to me to nest in this way. In doing so, I came upon a copy of an article that had been buried in a pile of old magazines dating back about six or so years.  The article was dated ten years earlier.  I laid it aside to read later and put the magazines in a stack to give to my mother who was going to recycle them. 

Coffee and cereal before me, I reached for the article this morning.  It was about an author, Paulo Coelho.  I read about his journey, his life and his writings and it was there that I realized that I had (with no control) let life happen, but now was just standing there like a deer in the headlights afraid to move.  I had become someone driving through life, feeling I had my hands on the wheel, and then when broadsided, had given up driving.  It was time to realize that things happen in life that seem life changing and life altering, but they don’t have to be life stopping.  It’s moments like these that are meant to make us put on our spiritual gloves and put up our dukes.  God hands us challenges, just as a boxer’s trainer will bring in another boxer who will show his trainee his strengths and his weaknesses. 

I have to say that the weakness revealed to me in this round is the lack of trust.  And now that the realization has finally made that connection, I can look back in the previous week and hear all the conversations that took place in which, if I had been listening, would have heard that my trust was in trouble.  I was trying to control it, take action, and be proactive!  But in there, I forgot to connect to the guiding part of me – my soul and God’s grace.  One without the other is not good.  You can jump all over the place and still get hit, or you can stand still and wait for God to save you, but if you use God’s voice to guide your movements, you may still get hit, but you will not experience the frustration and disappointment in yourself that the ego operates on. Instead you will know that you will grow from that pain, and the anger will be missing from the infliction.   

There is fluidity in feeling God within.  The peace that it instills leaves trust and even though life is not perfect, my loved ones may be ill and I may be ill or have pain, but I no longer feel the desperation that I had felt when I was standing there with my eyes wide staring into the painfully blazing light of fear feeling that somehow I had screwed up and now must make it all right. Instead I can just relax and know that if there is something I need to do, if I listen with the quiet trust in my heart, I will hear it. 

When I look back to yesterday, it was a conversation with my mother about Longaberger™ baskets that led me to those magazines.  I was thinking about how much I love my baskets and all their many uses.  And in the quiet of the day, I was led to the answer that lay buried within one of those baskets in that pile of old magazines.  That article brought me back to the center core of trust and belief. 

Life is like that.  Stop and listen and you’ll be surprised at what you’ll find.  Hopefully it will be the support and love that is always there to hold and guide you no matter what comes your way.  The voice of wisdom is found within that love, and with that wisdom, there is no need for worry, for you will know that whatever comes your way, you can handle it.

If you would like to be inspired by Paulo Coelho, here’s his website,


One thought on “Don’t Just Stand There – Put Up Your Dukes!

  1. It’s hard to be German-American, isn’t it? So much of our self worth has been based on what we accomplished that day.

    Also, about having enough time… I saw a bumper sticker that read “If you had enough, would you know it?” And in the middle were little words of things we never have enough of: “money, time, sex, etc.” Most people, especially in the Western world, especially in America, always want more.


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