Sunday, October 25, 2015

Grace, entry #2

At AA this morning there was a discussion of grace and acceptance.  Big topics.

In the course of my profession, I talk to a lot of people, and I hear a lot of very real stuff, both on the telephone and elsewhere. In the last couple of weeks I have heard of

  • Recent diagnoses of breast and colon cancer (thankfully, not in the same person)
  • Bad news about somebody who has been fighting lymphoma
  • Someone's 6-year old getting hit by a car in a way that would have been fatal to an adult
  • A friend who has bad peripheral neuropathy, so numbness and tingling in the extremities
  • Some other degenerative neurological condition (was it muscular dystrophy?)
  • Marriages falling apart for various reasons
In short, all kinds of health and life challenges.

This is, in fact, nothing but a function of being almost 50 and being in touch with a lot of people. Statistically speaking, things are going to happen, and the laws of large numbers dictate that, if you are paying attention to a bunch of people, you are going to hear about it.

Very few of these situations are ones in which the participants could have done anything to prevent them, whatever they may tell themselves. So in the end, the best tools we have at our disposal for dealing with these challenges are attitudinal, and in a sense spiritual.

There is a temptation for me to "count my blessings," to compare myself to everyone else and say "at least that's not happening to me."  But to some extent they are happening to me, just not to members of my nuclear family right now.  They are happening to me, I just don't know about them.

And we have faced our own challenges, be they Graham's autism, Natalie's accelerated puberty, my substance abuse and other mental health challenges, and Mary's stuff too (the marital equivalent of HIPAA keeps me from digging into any of that, but it's all just aging, really).

In short, if I choose to curse existence and whatever deity I choose, I get myself in trouble. If I accept that whatever's happening is just a probabilistic instantiation of stuff that's gonna happen to somebody, and stay positive about it, I'm much better off.

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