Things change – just more slowly than we’d like

31 May

Christopher_ColumbuChristopher Columbus on Santa Maria in 1492: painting by Emanuel Leutze, 1855

by Carolyn Thomas  @HeartSisters

Patience is boring and unglamorous, but a highly necessary virtue. You might not think anything is changing in life, but if you are patiently persistent, you will see change.

Consider the diary of Christopher Columbus*:

  • May 4:  On this day we sailed on.
  • May 5:  On this day we sailed on.
  • May 6:  On this day we sailed on.
  • May 7:  On this day we sailed on.
  • May 8:  Discovered land. Ate corn.”

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*  Thanks to my Toastmasters friend Teri Hustins for lending me the book Ballsy by Karen Salmansohn,  from which the Christopher Columbus example was snipped.  Image: Christopher Columbus on the Santa Maria in 1492, from a painting by Emanuel Leutze, 1855

Q:  How have you seen change happen in steps too small to appreciate at the time?

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15 Responses to “Things change – just more slowly than we’d like”

  1. Linda Fitzgerald June 3, 2013 at 5:23 am #

    As a stroke survivor of three years I have learned to appreciate the passage of time. It took six months before I could even move my left arm, and now, when my husband says “I remember when you couldn’t do that” (anything), I say: “Yeah but it took three years and I still have a long way to go”.

    Patience does not come easy for us baby-boomers in our hectic lives. Unfortunately, it takes a crisis for us to learn it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Carolyn Thomas June 3, 2013 at 5:30 am #

      Thanks for this, Linda. It does seem easier to focus on how far we need to go rather than appreciate how far we’ve come, doesn’t it?

      Like

  2. Ray's Mom June 1, 2013 at 7:53 pm #

    Lacking patience and easily bored, I would have been a bad passenger on that ship.

    Great story.
    God bless

    Liked by 1 person

    • Carolyn Thomas June 1, 2013 at 9:39 pm #

      Ha! Me too! 😉

      Like

      • JetGirl June 1, 2013 at 10:14 pm #

        Ahhh, but you wouldn’t have been a passenger. Suspect any day without pirates or capsizing was a good day for the overworked and underfed crew.

        JG

        Liked by 1 person

        • Carolyn Thomas June 2, 2013 at 6:22 am #

          Apparently, there was at least one passenger – an Arab interpreter Columbus thought they’d need when they landed in Asia during his first voyage. His three ships landed first in the Bahamas (which he believed was Japan) and then Cuba (which he thought was China). Can’t even imagine the living conditions on those boats…

          Like

  3. Rachel Goodwin Juby May 31, 2013 at 11:50 am #

    Well, I used to be one of those people that saved “fancy clothes and fancy dishes and fancy comforters and sheets and towels and silverware” for that very rare moment when a fancy occasion took place.

    Why? Am I not worthy of these things? Things I bought, things I love? Of course I am! I am not waiting on Christmas or Thanksgiving anymore. I am making every day I wake up a celebration of waking up and being me for one more day.

    Having lived the life of a cat, I have certainly lived 9 lives. I have traveled the world and seen and done many things. I have so many stories to share with my kids (now 12 and 14). I know what they are thinking, before they do 🙂 Freaks them out, but I do adore the look of pure admiration 🙂

    What we know for sure, is what we have today. Today I could have stared at the medical bills and fretted. They will get paid. Today, I received a silhouette photo of my daughter at the beach, holding up her hands in the shape of a heart. Today, I had lunch with my son and I love the way we laugh and talk about everything. Today, a business deal went through. Today, My late bloomer purple rose bush bloomed and my tomato plant has 14 babies! 🙂

    TODAY. Enjoy it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Carolyn Thomas May 31, 2013 at 11:59 am #

      So beautifully said, Rachel. Thank you for this!

      Like

    • Kathleen June 3, 2013 at 3:45 pm #

      Wonderful comment. My own mother rarely pulled out the “good” plates and glasses, and I remember that my younger brother used to say, “Who are you saving them for? Your grandchildren?”

      Enjoy good times and good things right now! Why put them off? As my husband likes to say: “You? Already you’re living on 40 years of borrowed time!”

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Kathleen May 31, 2013 at 11:40 am #

    This is the first year in 13 that I have no major surgery on the horizon.

    For some of those years, more than one surgery was on the front burner and it was hard to juggle them. However painful and disabling in the short term, almost every one of them helped me improve function and reduce a source of chronic pain, though several pointed out yet another long-standing problem.

    Some years I spent more time on crutches than off, and that created its own problems. Throughout it all, I exercised as I could, maintained whatever activities I was able, thought about how to do practically every motion, and noted every tiny incremental change.

    In energy terms, this amounted to keeping a job while going to school, and I tried to do both until I realized that I couldn’t. But in the last year especially, even after the cardiac diagnoses, all these tiny changes have meshed together into a stronger, more functional me. I now feel muscles and bones lining up and working better than I can remember. Last week, during a visit with my sister in Chicago, she told me that I look great, better than in at least 10 years. “Whatever potion you’re taking,” she said, “keep it up!”

    I considered what she had said and told her that I had been in constant pain for 13 years and now I feel better. That might explain what she sees. And she was dumbfounded.

    I can and do take joy in each tiny change, but have yet to reconcile with the profound chasm between my reality and its invisibility to others. Perhaps it would help if the perceptions of others had not already so affected my life. (Readers: See When Your Doctor Mislabels You As An Anxious Female for more on Kathleen’s story).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Carolyn Thomas May 31, 2013 at 12:10 pm #

      Hi Kathleen – your conversation with your sister is especially compelling, as it reminds us yet again of how hard it is for others to ‘get’ those of us with invisible diagnoses (yes, even when it’s our own sister!) Sometimes a nice little neck brace might come in handy . . .

      I hope you are enjoying this surgery-free year as much as humanly possible!

      Like

  5. jetgirl May 31, 2013 at 9:54 am #

    Hi Carolyn,

    The most dramatic shift has been the acceptance of this new life – it has changed so slowly, I never noticed when anger was no longer the primary emotion. Not to say I don’t have my moments of bad language 🙂

    But by incorporating the various routines that make up the necessary treatments (meds, meditation, etc) into my daily life, I have fewer reactive moments and more of a “here we go again” mentality as the cardiac events have occurred.

    Who knew??

    JG

    Liked by 1 person

    • Carolyn Thomas May 31, 2013 at 10:19 am #

      Who knew, indeed! I think that ‘here we go again’ mentality (maybe resignation bordering on acceptance?) can have a way of replacing – over time, mind you! – some of the distressing high anxiety we often feel, particularly immediately following a cardiac event.

      Well said, JG.

      Like

  6. helensamia May 31, 2013 at 5:11 am #

    Yes at the moment waiting for my lymph node transfer to progress!!! I think my diary would have the word… Waiting … Everyday..!!! I have to say that I have discovered patience I did not know I had… But also along for the ride are a lot of emotions!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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