The Month of May, 2009, will go down in my personal history as a month of extremes ranging from exhilarating joy to excruciating pain, massive highs to debilitating lows, complete celebration to complete shut-down, huge successes to ultimate failures. I'm exhausted and overwhelmed. I made up a new saying about it. Maybe someone else already made it up, but I'm laying claims to it until otherwise corrected. It goes like this: Don't count your chicks before they're hatched because you never know when you're looking at a basket of goose eggs.
I think for all of us it is really easy to breeze through the joy, the highs, the celebration, the successes without experiencing the magnification of how much sweeter they are when set against the backdrop of the pain, the lows, the shut-downs, and the failures. But then again, who in their right mind would willingly dredge up the bad to make the good so much more meaningful?
Well, whether I wanted the lesson or not, I have learned it 10 times over this month, and as I was sitting down to write this post and feeling more than a little sorry for myself, I realized that the very answer I was looking for was reflected in the images of the incredible people who participate in the Relay for Life every year, who turn stories of hopelessness into efforts steeped in optimism, who turn the loss of loved ones into powerful crusades, who dig deep into their pain not to relive it but to revitalize it - to turn the proverbial sow's ear into a silk purse.
Here are my picks to share from the multitude of images captured at this year's Relay for Life. I have two other stories to share, but want to leave you with this prod: Life's what you make it, so love your babies harder, give your spouse a kiss goodnight even if you're mad, phone your parents or your children and tell them you love them, wash the dishes before you go to bed and replace the toilet paper roll if you empty it, be grateful for your job, take a picture of the flowers in bloom, and make sure you wear clean underwear - the grass is always greener somewhere else until you realize that you're still on the other side of the fence with yourself.
I asked who in their right mind would dredge up the bad to make the good so much more meaningful, and the answer is, these incredible, courageous, beautiful survivors, caregivers, friends, spouses, children, parents, aunties and uncles, grandparents, co-workers, and dearly departed, whose incredible spirit and ability to turn despair into HOPE makes me quake in my boots at the power of the human spirit:
And for whatever it's worth, don't worry too much about the goose eggs - sometimes serendipity kicks in and you realize they're just ugly ducklings... c