As the world struggled with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there were many stories of despair and hardship. People lost their jobs, their loved ones, and their sense of security. But amid all the chaos and uncertainty, there were also stories of hope, resilience, and kindness. One such story was that of Emma, a nurse who had been working on the frontlines of the pandemic since it began. She had seen firsthand the toll the virus was taking on people's lives, and she was determined to do what she could to make a difference. Emma worked long hours at the hospital, often going days without rest. She saw patients of all ages, from newborns to the elderly, and she did her best to provide them with the care and compassion they needed. Despite the challenges she faced, Emma never lost her sense of purpose or her dedication to her patients. One day, as Emma was finishing her shift, she received a call from her sister. Her sister, who lived in another city, had just given birth to a baby girl. Emma was thrilled to hear the news and couldn't wait to meet her new niece. However, with travel restrictions in place due to the pandemic, Emma wasn't sure if she would be able to visit her sister and her new niece. She felt a pang of sadness at the thought of missing out on such an important moment in her family's life. But then something amazing happened. When Emma's colleagues at the hospital heard about her situation, they rallied around her. They came up with a plan to cover her shifts for the next few days so that she could take some time off to visit her sister and her new niece. Emma was overwhelmed by their kindness and generosity. She had always known that her colleagues were dedicated and caring, but this was something else entirely. It was a reminder that, even in the darkest of times, there were still people who were willing to go above and beyond to help others. With tears in her eyes, Emma packed her bags and headed off to see her sister and her new niece. When she arrived, she was greeted with hugs and smiles and the sweet scent of her new niece. She spent the next few days with her family, holding the baby, laughing with her sister, and taking long walks in the fresh air. As she made her way back to the hospital a few days later, Emma felt renewed and re-energized. She knew that there were still many challenges ahead, but she also knew that she wasn't alone. She had her colleagues, her family, and a newfound sense of hope to carry her forward. From that day on, Emma made a point of looking for the bright spots in each day. She smiled more often, laughed more freely, and took the time to appreciate the little things in life. And as she continued to work on the frontlines of the pandemic, she knew that she was making a difference – not just in the lives of her patients, but in her own life as well.
My husband and I watched D'Jango Unchained (2012) over the weekend. I thought it was cute that, even though we were separated, we both said we would not watch the movie when it was advertised because of it's depiction of slavery. But, once we watched it and got a gist of the story line, we were hooked. It was interesting to me that even during our time apart we still thought alike... LOL... I digress that's a different story. Please, forgive the musings of a newly reunited, dreamy-eyed wife. I have seen this movie several times but, apparently, I have not watched it. Maybe I should say I did not pay attention to it. Or, a more likely scenario would be that I slept through the majority of it - which I confess I am notorious for doing. Whatever the reason, I seemed to have missed the entire scene where Dr. Schultz tells D'Jango the story of Broomhilda. She is a princess who is banished to a mountain top guarded by a fire breathing dragon. The dragon surrounds her "in a circle of hellfire". She is fated to stay there forever unless a hero saves her. Sigfried is that hero... "He scales the mountain because he is not afraid of it. He slays the dragon because he is not afraid of it. And he walks through hellfire because Broomhilda is worth it." D'Jango responds, "I know how he feels", because he is on a similar quest. The victories of Siegfried and D'Jango were not won because of special skill, talent, or privilege but because of their commitment to obtaining the prize. This is a profound example of perseverance. Often times we get discouraged and disappointed by the various obstacles that present themselves during our human experiences. For those who have reached their desired position and are now resting on your laurels , I commend you. But, for those who have dreams and goal that you have yet to attain, please allow these words of encouragement to help laser beam your focus and strengthen your resolve to continue your pursuit: BE THE HERO OF YOUR STORY! SCALE THE MOUNTAIN! SLAY THE DRAGON! WALK THROUGH HELLFIRE! YES, YOU CAN DO IT! *YOU ARE WORTH IT!* Photo by Dương Nhân from Pexels
5:31 a.m. I'm sleepy.... NOTE TO SELF: Of course, there will be times when you become weary... Just keep writing! There will be times when words evade you and ideas get jumbled and twisted like the squares on a Rubik's cube... Just keep writing! There will be times when creativity clashes with reality and you are stuck in the middle.... Just keep writing! There will be times when the mother and the wife tango in confusion in the corridor between the laundry room and kitchen... Just keep writing! There will be times when your hormones spike and plunge in a matter of minutes and you are left bewildered and sweltering... Just keep writing... Oh, yes, there will most definitely be times when the numbers don't increase and your stats seem to stagnate... Just keep writing! And there will be moments, like this one, when you feel like you just can't.... But I promise you that if you JUST KEEP WRITING... The lines down the page will prove that you CAN! Just Do It! - NIKE P.S. Special thanks to Akos Peterbencze for your words of confirmation and encouragement in your response to Misidentification: Stepping Out of the Shadow - "You found your path and yourself. Use it! Keep writing!"
In my naivety, I believed that I had complete control over every aspect of my life; I had my dreams and aspirations just within my grasp. I've heard time and time again that things can change in the blink of an eye, but I never imagined I'd experience it quite so literally. On July 1, 2016, I had awoken after a fairly normal night of sleep with a tingling, burning sensation throughout my arms and neck. I got out of bed and brought my complaints to my mom, which she shrugged off, suggesting that I had slept in an odd position. I agreed and decided to go downstairs and pay my brother a visit; but he was still asleep and I didn't want to bother him. The condition of my arms continued, so I laid on the nearby couch hoping that I would soon feel better. In a matter of twenty minutes, my body began to shut down. I lost the ability to move my arms and legs and breathing became increasingly difficult. While laying in the ambulance, I watched my house grow smaller in the distance and I knew my life would never be the same.In the days that followed, I was diagnosed with a spinal cord injury that had resulted in paralysis from the neck down; and unfortunately, I remain in the same condition today. At the time of the injury, I was 18 years old, freshly graduated from high school, and excited about starting college. In today's world, limitations are just a part of everyday life. While some like myself, are affected physically, others are affected in a plethora of ways. When plans are disturbed by an unforeseen obstacle, there are usually two choices—fight or flight. I realized I could give up my aspirations and dreams, or I could accept the situation and adapt. Albert Einstein said, “Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them.” Through this long process, I've recognized that success is just a matter of my desire to push through boundaries and achieve goals. In addition to my physical limitations, one challenge I've also been dealing with depression. While left to my own thoughts, finding out that I was immobile made me feel less than human. I truly believed that I had no value and my future was in a bed; I soon realized the only thing that confined me was my mindset. I have a newfound respect for my upbringing. In my darkness, I had forgotten what hope was. However, I believe growing up in a religious household gave me something to grasp in my trials and tribulations--my faith. Along with depression, my anxiety became unbearable. I dreaded visits from friends and being out in public wasn't an option for me. I wasn't comfortable with people staring and getting around was stressful, especially trying to fit behind tables and through doorways. Individuals with disabilities are less likely to feel normal in today's society. Even still; I do my best to stay positive and do things that I enjoy so I don't focus on the difficult parts of my situation. As long as I can remember, I have used my sense of humor to cope. Dealing with my disability made it hard for me to remember what being happy was like. Through the of support from my large family, I learned how to laugh again. As a resident in the state of Georgia, my family and I have faced numerous issues with nursing agencies. For instance, trying to find stable help with personalities that blended with my family. We had often been left without care but our church community and friends have helped tremendously to fill this space of “need” and assist my mother in taking care of me. Through the unpredictable nature of my medical care, I had to learn to be my own advocate. Constantly relying on people caused me to believe that I didn't have a choice in anything. I was never a confrontational person and in many cases, I let others take advantage of me. Eventually I found solace in the fact that I have a say in my body, my care, and my feelings take priority. I confronted my fears and stood up for my beliefs. I regained power through my words. I found a voice that I thought was gone. Anxiety and depression isn't something that should be faced alone, so I want to dedicate my time to helping others who felt the same way I did. I am extremely passionate about furthering my education and giving others a sense of hope and belonging. That being said, I would love to be a psychologist who specializes in working with people with disabilities. Having experienced these difficulties myself, I might better empathize with them than others would. A disability might seem like a setback to some, but in my opinion it is a reflection of whether a person has the strength, resilience and will to persevere through their circumstances. I'm persistent and unwilling to accept anything less than success. Giving up is not an option. Despite all of the hardships I endure and continue to endure, I refuse to accept that having a disability stops one from living a fulfilling life and I know I'm on my own path to making my dreams a reality.
In our country, there had been a protracted conflict between two ethnic groups, namely: the majority Sinhalese and the minority Tamils. In fact, the two parties to the conflict were the Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. I had been an active participant in this war from the outset since I worked for the Department of Police. In the 1980s, I was serving in the East of the country where the terrorists' recruitment drive was in full swing. Our duties centered on gathering intelligence, grilling suspects, and assisting the armed forces in cordon and search operations. In one such instance, two young girls had been brought to the local police station on suspicion of attending the secret indoctrination classes held by the terrorist cadres. As usual, we interrogated the girls and dispatched the dossiers on them to our headquarters in Colombo for further legal action. The girls in question were held on Detention Orders and were detained at a local police station under the care of a police matron. The dossiers on them were submitted to the Attorney General department (AG Dept.) for further action. In the meantime, the detainees had to languish at the police station until a decision was taken by the AG Dept. whether to file plaints against them in courts or release them without indicting them. During their incarceration at the local police station, I had occasion to see them almost daily. Gradually we became so friendly that the relationship between us changed from that of a law officer and suspect to one of a lawyer and client. The conclusion we had reached from our inquiries that the girls were innocent and had not taken any active part in the alleged terrorist activities merely facilitated this change of attitude. This fact alone made us take pity on them and help them get back to the society as soon as possible so that they could lead normal lives again. As time dragged on, I felt I was drawn towards one of them in a special way and before I knew it, I was in love with her. These girls did not know a single word of our mother tongue, the Sinhala language, and we too had to communicate with them through an interpreter. What we started as exchanging our ideas by sign language developed into a more concrete mode of communication with me burning the midnight oil to learn the Tamil language for the express need of exchanging the most basic pleasantries with her. My parents and siblings, who got wind of this intimate relationship, objected to it vehemently and threatened to sever all connections with me if I did not toe their line. Their objections were founded on very logical and acceptable grounds. The general attitude of we Sinhalese towards the Tamils was one of hatred. Since I hailed from a very high caste Sinhala family and she from the Tamil community, the inter-marriage was unthinkable, to say the least. The conflict between the two communities aggravated the problem very much. In the meantime, the girls were pardoned and sent back home. Despite many obstacles, I kept in touch with her at all costs and took time off to meet her on the sly making use of every trick of the trade to escape the prying eyes of the terrorist undercover agents who were out to get rid of anyone having connections with the Sinhalese, especially the law enforcement officers. However, at some later stage I was transferred to our headquarters in Colombo and therefore had to leave her and return to Colombo. However, we continued to keep our line of communication intact. Then, one day, she left her home on her own volition, came to Colombo looking for me, and refused to go back. Throwing caution to the wind, we took the plunge to sign on the dotted line on the spur of the moment. I was ill-prepared for such an eventuality. I had no plans for the future. But I simply could not turn her away. I had only one thing – a strong determination. The sequence of events that ensued tested my patience to the hilt. I was ostracized from home. Later, I had to say goodbye to my employers, as I did not want them to know that I had married someone who was on their records as a terrorist suspect. We led a life on the run, moving from place to place and hopping jobs and finally after many years came back to my ancestral home to settle down. Time moved on. So did our lives. The ethnic conflict breathed its last and the country returned to its pristine self. It has come to a state now where my wife's services have become indispensable to the students in our locality in the form of a ‘Tamil teacher' and everybody loves her for the great service she renders by imparting her knowledge in the Tamil language to the Sinhalese students. Our triumph was a classic example of sheer determination, dedication, and trust. And there is only one piece of advice I can give anybody who is faced with a similar problem. Persevere. You are bound to be rewarded in the end --- just like us, who have been blessed with two lovely kids.
Subscribe and stay tuned.