“In life our first job is this, to divide and distinguish things into two categories: externals I cannot control, but the choices I make with regard to them I do control. Where will I find good and bad? In me, in my choices.” —EPICTETUS as quoted in “The Obstacle is the Way” by Ryan Holiday.
“So there are two reasons to embrace what happens. One is that it’s happening to you. It was prescribed for you, and it pertains to you. The thread was spun long ago, by the oldest cause of all.” – Marcus Aurelius.
Kay didn’t ask to get sick. This was not her goal in life. However, it happened. Caregiving was never on my list of desires. I didn’t seek this role, but it happened. So we both have to face the situation and deal with it to the best of our ability. As Epictetus points out, I can’t control the fact that this happened, but it is up to ME to control how I deal with it. For Kay, it is an even tougher task, but it is up to HER to choose how she chooses to deal with it.
Our task is not easy. Our dreams are not the same as when we started. But there is a purpose and a meaning to our struggles. We must take life as it comes and do our best to overcome the obstacles — learn from the obstacles. Viktor Frankl said it best: “We had to learn…that it did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us. We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life—daily and hourly. Our answer must consist, not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct. Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual. These tasks, and therefore the meaning of life, differ from man to man, and from moment to moment.” – Viktor E. Frankl – Man’s Search for Meaning.
This quote hit home with me. I wrote it down and read it often. In the end, we must not complain or despair, thinking about the “what ifs” in life. We take what life has given to us and move forward the best way that we can. It’s not easy, we struggle, we get stressed, we wish it were different and we do our best to change it for the better. But above all else, we have each other and we have love – and that is what matters.
Life happens, take what comes and live it, learn from it, enjoy it. “The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned: but time and change happen to them all” Ecclesiastes 9:11.
Quotes are taken from the following books.
Holiday, Ryan. The Obstacle Is the Way. Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
Aurelius, Marcus. Meditations (Modern Library). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
Frankl, Viktor E.. Man’s Search for Meaning (pp. 76-77). Beacon Press. Kindle Edition.