Pile of Problems


As you have gathered from my previous blogs, I am a “glass half full” kind of gal. I wake up happy, get an early start on my day and truly focus on adding humor or something positive to the lives of others around me. I am healthy and in good shape. I hear regularly from my family, spend time with my friends, and continue to meet new people adding to the diversity to my life. Smiling comes easy to me.

I have problems, sure I do, we all do. For example I have this annoying autoimmune disorder which has an unpredictable diagnosis and no known cure. Some days my hands hurt so much the pain interferes with my whole being!  As a result I am not able to cut or tie, write legibly, or grip my tennis racket with confidence that I won’t drop it while in play. No amount of ibuprofen makes the discomfort go away, I have to just ride it through until the pain subsides.

But when I hear the troubles of others, complaining about my hand discomfort seems absurd, and so I don’t.  As I looked over my terrace this morning, I saw the homeless man in his usual spot on the park bench. Years ago he was a successful, professional boxer. I asked myself, “How is it that he was once famous and surrounded by thousands of cheering fans, and today he is alone and without a  roof over his head?”  Now that is a problem! Somehow my hands hurt less. As I continued to glance down below, I saw my neighbor, Steve, on his motorized scooter having to work his way through the crowds gathered for the arts festival. He has MS and his scooter is his only mode of transportation. Now my hands don’t hurt at all.

What if everyone could throw one of their  problems into a huge pile in exchange for  any other problem in the pile?  I imagine the pile of problems would resemble the rock pile below near the pond–a huge triangular-shaped pile of  problems of many different sizes and shapes?  Once I tossed “My hands hurt” onto the pile, what problem would I choose to replace it?  What one would you choose?  Regina Brett reminds us that:

“If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.”

And she is “spot on”.  If I could see the  problems piled high, I am certain I would choose “My hands hurt” and walk away and be grateful for the problem I have.  I live with “My hands hurt” everyday. I know what that problem is and have learned to manage through it.

I never want to be defined by my problem, or be known as the woman with scleroderma, but that very challenge is a part of who I am, a part of my story. The act of working through any challenge we face  in life makes our story both remarkable and unique.

Yes, Regina is right. If we all threw our problems into a huge pile and were asked to select one, I know I would choose “My hands hurt” without batting an eye. What would you choose?

2 responses to “Pile of Problems

  1. A timely reminder as I deal with my aging parents form 400 miles away. I still might (emphasize “might”) choose them from a host of possible problems. Be well, I think of you often! Jane

  2. I have been through the aging parents and one could argue that I am now one of them! I know the struggle and wish you well as you experience the value of being a caregiver for those who once did the same for you. I found the role to be thankless at times as my dad died angry but I am finally able to give myself thanks for caring for him. Be well, Jayne. I miss you! ma

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