Can We Learn to Be Brave by Watching Others Cope?

braveWhen we feel weak, we sometimes need only to observe a brave friend. Laura shares.

”Lord, You are the God who saves me; day and night I cry out to You. May my prayer come before You; turn Your ear to my cry” (Psalm 88:1-2).

Everybody I meet on my chronic illness adventure shows bravery in the face of hardships.

Brave: ready to face and endure danger or pain; showing courage.

I have a friend who was recently diagnosed with a second chronic illness. It produces plummeting blood pressure, syncope, gastric distress, anaphylaxis shock and other things.

And how does she handle it? With grace, prayer and medications that cause side effects including weight gain, bloating, elevated blood pressure and sleepless nights.

After a recent emergency room visit–where they pumped her with medications to stabilize her system–she joked that her nail color matched the hospital gown she wore.

Now, if that is not finding humor and a positive in a difficult situation, what is? Oftentimes, humor helps us to survive and calm our own fears, as well as the fears of our loved ones. It is my friend’s way to be brave, despite what is occurring.

Letting our mind focus on all the craziness of illness can be more of a detriment than a benefit to our mental and physical health at times.

And I am sure my friend prayed; as she prays often.

She keeps a bowl on her kitchen table. When a prayer need arises, she writes it on a slip of paper and places it in this beautiful bowl–a reminder each night at dinnertime to pray for the needs of others.

Despite her own problems, she always remembers others. I’ve never peeked inside but know I’ve made that reservoir a few times.

Two days after her ER visit, my friend went to the gym for an abbreviated workout. She will continue on her routine, going about life, without letting illness stop her. Despite difficulties, she finds the time to laugh, pray, and live.

That is all we can ask of ourselves–to do our best. To show courage despite our hardships. And to rely on God for our strength.

Prayer: Dear Lord: Thank You for putting beautiful friends in my life. Protect and guide them as they face challenges in living with chronic conditions. Amen.

About the author:
Laura Seil Ruszczyk lives in New York with her husband and three kids. She retired from her job as an elementary school counselor in 2012. She has a neurological condition – dysautonomia- which is a deregulation of the autonomic nervous system. She is thankful for meeting the friend that she writes about here, and others, since her diagnosis.

How do you muster strength to face your difficulties?

Wondering if your pain will be redeemed? Not sure who to share what information with? This is the band Mikeschair singing “People Like Me.” The lyrics feel familiar to me right now… How about your? -Lisa