Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Fighter

We've all got something in our lives that tests us or has the potential to break us entirely. A sink or swim moment, if you will. If we're fortunate enough, I think we will all have the opportunity to fall on our knees, wondering why some terrible thing is happening to us. It builds character. It makes us more compassionate. It teaches humility. But more than anything, it allows us to see the strength in those who are fighting battles of their own. There's just something about enduring something terrible that allows you to relate to the trials of others--it's easy to recognize what that feels like.

I think that's the one thing that unites us all, regardless of what has shattered our sense of hope and promise---we're all fighting something. Maybe it's the loss of someone we love. The lack of something we desperately want. Perhaps it's a terrible illness that has the potential to take away someone we love. It doesn't matter, really. What matters is that we have the chance to fight for something we love--something we want--whether it's for our life or simply making sense of a shattered dream.

The world loves a fighter, you see. Every movie about sports is the same basic concept: an underdog group of people or an individual who fought their way to the top in a heroic way. We love heroes. We adore people who are seemingly average, normal, and also able to achieve something big. It goes back to that instinct we have to fight---it's expanded by our own fight and it's brought out by seeing that admirable quality in someone else.

It feels, sometimes, as though we have to spend every last moment fighting. Sometimes it's easy--normal, even. Other times it feels like a heavy load to carry on our shoulders. It can be exhausting. It can try us more than we'd care to endure. But, it never stops being a worthy endeavor. The fight is sometimes the best part of the experience, because not everyone is willing to fight. There are options, of course. You can allow your circumstances to break you and live the rest of your live wallowing in pity, hatred and anger. People do this--if you think hard enough, I'm sure you know someone who lives in that place.

But those who are willing to fight can fight their way back to a better place. A place that was better than where they stood before, honestly. It's the difficult choice. The one that requires confidence, perseverance and really a strong sense of self. Anyone can fall, but not everyone is willing to pick themselves up. There is always a choice to be made.

There will be obstacles along the way. Setbacks. Pain. Scars. Tragedy. Hurt. It's not easy to spend your energy and heart on fighting for something that seems impossible. I like to think of those things as markers---breadcrumbs spread along the way to remind you of where you used to exist. Sometimes, it takes years to get there. Other times, it takes a lifetime.

The point is this: never stop working to make sense of your life. Never stop reaching, scratching, working, striving, and risking it all for your fight. It might not be popular. It probably won't be easy. But it will always be worth it.

What are YOU fighting?


Ms. Pollywog said...

Great post.

I've been battling infertility for over a decade. Now that I am a newly adoptive mom, I have a clear picture of how infertility is a lifelong battle, even when we have our baby in our arms. The sting of baby bumps at a local restaurant, or FB announcements of pregnancy might not cut straight to the bone and throw me into despair like they once did, but they will always be there. I will NEVER have the choice to just add to my family whenever I think it's time. That's not the way it works for me. But here's the thing, the good stuff is and always will be worth the fight.

My weight is my other battle. Again, a battle that will be with me for life.

Heather Barrett said...

Em, this is such an awesome post and something that has really hit home with me. As we prepare for yet another test on Eli, this time a MRI scan on his brain to determine what is causing the regression in his development and the screaming spells at night I can help but wonder how much longer I can put up the fight. All I feel like we do these days is fight for something. It's tiring, emotional,and weighs so heavy on my heart some days I feel like I can't breathe. But in the end I know this is a fight worth fighting and I will get up each day and do it all over again because I know the fruits of my labor will far exceed my expectations :)


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