I've had a rough couple of weeks. By rough, I mean stressful. The kind of stress that makes my head spin and makes me lose focus on one project only to zip on to another and not be able to give it my full attention.
As a result of the fast pace, lack of sleep and general chaos that has been the backdrop of my life recently, I've had very little time to think about words.
Oh, I've said plenty of words. Not all of them fit to repeat in polite company. I've had the same kinds of thoughts also. I don't like it when fatigue and factors beyond my control turn my mood dark.
But it happens.
And soon I realize that my problems are no different than anyone else's. We all have our stuff. Whether it's work, finances, health, or even simpler things that seem bigger than they should be - like what to make for dinner. How we handle our problems is what defines us in many ways. I'd love to be able to say I'm graceful under pressure but that would be a big fat lie. I get things done; I don't panic; but often my language is 'colorful' and people know to give me some space.
Which brings me to the subject of my ramblings.
Grace under fire.
Months ago I was introduced to a blogger who has had her site going for quite a few years. She basically blogs about her life: She has a large and loving family; a sweet and romantic relationship with her handsome husband; and very strong ties to her church and its teachings. Her writing is witty, charming and surprisingly honest.
Along with a stylish and graphically pleasing site, she also adds numerous photos of daily life that look to be the work of a professional. She has a very artistic eye. She is a woman of great style.
Her name is Stephanie Nielsen and about two years ago she and her husband were involved in a tragic private plane crash that killed the pilot, who was also their good friend; and nearly killed Stephanie but for the actions of the aforementioned handsome husband who saved her life. She was, however, burned over 80 percent of her body and hospitalized for months, many of them spent in a coma. The process was excruciatingly painful, as I can only imagine burns could be. She's had numerous surgeries and her body will never be what it was before the crash.
Obviously she was away from her blog for many months, and her family stepped up and kept her readers informed of her progress. She's been through something that many of us can't even imagine. But once she got home, and was able - she logged back on and updated us on her progress (and setbacks) herself. Through it all, even on her worst days, she was able to find grace. And don't misunderstand . . . she was also angry, in pain, worn out, worried, and all of the things you'd imagine someone to feel in a situation that horrendous. And she didn't sugarcoat her feelings. She's a realist and not above showing some emotion. But, at the end of the day . . . she's grateful, and amazingly gracious.
And notice - I said "her body will never be what it was before the crash." But she has definitely retained her well-heeled sense of style. Her life is getting back on track and her days very full. She seems to love the daily routine (even though it probably takes a little longer to get up in the morning), and delights in the ordinary moments of her family's life. She finds joy in the things that we may take for granted. Cooking a meal or picking up toys or doing laundry is probably more difficult for her to accomplish than it would be for many of us - but those tasks can be joyful if, for a long time, you couldn't do them at all.
It's an pleasure just to know someone like this exists. Technology is a curious force. In this case, I feel blessed to be able to log onto my computer and check in on Stephanie now and then and look at her adorable family, check out the corresponding links, and see the progress she's made physically and emotionally.
I read quite a few blogs. Some of them are strictly pop-culture drivel, some are profanity-laced rants, some are erudite ramblings - and some are purely inspirational.
I feel better about life after I catch up with Stephanie. I feel good knowing that this person has the generosity to share her life with us and show that physical, emotional and everyday challenges can be managed with a positive attitude.
Meet Stephanie here
(The picture of flowers is in no way associated with this blog entry. I just thought they were pretty.)