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Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Victim or Victor


Here's another one of my Heart and Soul articles I posted to our Hometown Paper in June!
 Victim or Victor? What's your choice!

My friend, Carol, was diagnosed with cancer. The prognosis was grim. Carol faced the hard truth that she most likely wouldn't experience retirement vacations or meet her grandchildren. Upon her first chemo treatment, Carol looked around the room at all the hurting people, and she silently prayed for them. It didn't matter to her that they were all in the same boat. Carol prayed for their rescue.

This practice of praying for those in the chemo room soon became like breathing to Carol. She grew pale, thin, and sicker. But she found joy in visiting the chemo lab all the same. It was her mission to bless those that shared the space with her. With a sweet smile, a kind word, a shared scripture, or a prayer breathed over them; Carol decided not to fall victim to cancer. She chose to be victorious.

As cancer took its toll on her body, Carol blessed those who held a bedside vigil around her. Some may say that she was a victim of cancer, but to those who knew her, she was a victor in every right. While cancer was taking her life, she continued to claim victory by blessing those around her.

Carol didn't allow her circumstances to suck the life out of her. Instead, Carol chose to squeeze every ounce of life out of her remaining days. This was characteristic of Carol, throughout her life. She always seemed to find the good amongst the difficult. She was a shining example to me. I can’t say that my approach would be the same. Triumphing over my circumstances is not my strong suit.  

Life seems unfair sometimes. Expectations get dashed. Hopes and dreams often fail. Our first instinct may be to throw a tantrum like a toddler who didn't get his way in the candy aisle. We may grow bitter and depressed. We may even feel like giving up. I speak from experience. I have been that toddler (as an adult)!

Thinking of Carol and her approach to remain victorious in the greatest fight of her life, causes me to ponder how I approach my own battles. What if I chose to use the energy it takes to feel all those wretched emotions and use it to focus on how I can be triumphant over the situation, instead? What if I looked deep within myself to see how I can successfully turn sour into sweet by making lemonade out of the "lemons" handed to me?

Allow me to visit the hundred-acre wood for a moment and use Winnie the Pooh and his friends as an example. Eeyore said, "Woe is me," a lot. Eeyore was a victim of everything. No matter what happened to that sad little donkey, he saw it as one more exhausting hurdle he'd have to jump. Pooh, on the other hand, saw everything as an adventure. He met life's circumstances with excitement and wonderment. If the honey pot ran low, he sought the thrill of licking the sweetness from the bottom instead of lamenting that he'd soon be without it. Eeyore licked his wounds. . . Pooh licked the honey!

How about you? Are you crying over the looming crisis or savoring the sweetness of the moment? How much time of the day is your focus on the things you cannot change compared to focusing your thoughts on what you can control?

Perhaps the real question is: With whom would you and I rather spend the day? Whom would you and I rather be to our friends?

Victim or Victor? The choice is yours!