Tag Archives: Serenity Prayer

Acceptance?

For the last few months, I have participated in a monthly blog share #1000speak at http://1000voicesspeak.org/ This is a group of bloggers who are wanting to bring out the best in humanity and somehow make a difference.

This month’s topic is acceptance.

To say that I struggle with acceptance is the greatest understatement. I am outright oppositional, rebellious and fight it with every cell I’ve got.

Not that I’m a bad person or rebellious by nature. It’s just that I believe too much in the power to change our destiny, the future, the world within us as well as the world around us just to accept the status quo. It might be hard work and quite a lonely journey going against the flow sometimes. However, somebody’s got to do it and thank goodness, I’m not alone.

For many years now, I have wrestled with acceptance and, in particular, with the first verse of the Serenity Prayer:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)

While this prayer is the foundation of the highly successful Alcoholics Anonymous’ 12 Steps Program, what’s amazed me is how much I could actually change. It was way beyond the realms of what I ever considered possible.

I have a severe chronic illness and yet I was able to learn the violin. I skied. Have now had over 20,000 views on my blog. Yet, at the same time, I found that despite my best efforts, there were things I couldn’t change. Straight after skiing down Front Valley at Australia’s Perisher Resort, I developed pneumonia and my auto-immune disease flared up and I went on to have chemo shortly after. That wasn’t part of the plan but I guess it just went to show me that I can’t control everything. That life does respond to a remote control.

Over the last 12 months, my views towards acceptance have been challenged again by the impact of terrorism in our world. Just over a year ago, Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down over the Ukraine killing everyone on board. This event silenced the world and we were united in shock and grief. How could this happen? Once again, our sense of security was at the very least challenged and the ground beneath our feet perhaps became a bit more uncertain…especially after terrorist sieges in Sydney, Paris and more recently events in Tunisia.

What can we as mere little people do in the face of such hate? How can we reach out to those who had so tragically lost loved ones and convey our deep love and our sense of solidarity? That although we’re strangers, that we feel such love, compassion and wished there was something we could do? How can we show that we don’t accept such acts of terrorism or violence when we might not have a voice?

It’s a challenge!

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

Edmund Burke

After the loss of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17, the kids and I made a series of red love hearts which they cut out and taped onto paddle pop sticks, which they could stick in the ground like the red poppies we have on ANZAC Day in remembrance of those who served our country and in particular made the ultimate sacrifice. Quite a few of the Australians on board were either teachers or students and so we sent these hearts to the schools involved.

Our tribute to the victims of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17. We posted these hearts out to their schools and communities where we could.

Our tribute to the victims of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17. We posted these hearts out to their schools and communities where we could.

By sending these letters, we weren’t actively combating evil directly but we were doing something and I guess I made a bit of an unconscious decision not to forget those people who died on board Flight MH17. Not because I knew any of them personally but to say that it’s completely unacceptable for a civilian aircraft to be shot down NO MATTER WHAT.

But how can I do that? How can I just one little speck lost among the hundreds and thousands ever hope to make a difference when governments and political leaders with greater minds than mine struggle?!

The determination in our hearts can move mighty mountains!

The determination in our hearts can move mighty mountains!

That said, I don’t think we should ever underestimate the power of the human heart and how it can move mighty mountains and blow evil right out of the water! What the little people might lack in might, we can have in passion and determination.

Moreover, when all of us little people come together, we become a powerful force. We have days at school which require a gold coin donation and while I might put in a couple of dollars, as a school we might raise $700-$900.00.

That is people power.

Through blogging, I have also been able to see the power of “the pen” in action. Moreover, through 1000 Voices for Compassion, hundreds and indeed a thousand of us write about compassion each month and spend that time thinking and even putting goodness into action.

I have to believe that each of us is being that difference and making a stand against horrors which should never be accepted.

xx Rowena

Evicting the Elephant from the Room!!

An elephant has been living in my room. It’s never had a name and it’s never shared its story but some time ago, it simply moved in and it hasn’t moved out, rudely bailing me up in my own home.

Ever since, I’ve been feeling like a teeny, weenie, terrified mouse scrunched up hiding in the corner too afraid to come out.

After all, how could a tiny, little mouse ever take on such a monstrous elephant? It wouldn’t even need weapons of mouse destruction. It could just sit on me and I’d be flatter than a pancake. I doubt you’d even find my shadow.

Obviously, confronting an elephant is a serious consideration and not something I’d file as an “irrational fear”.

However, costs are mounting and I simply can’t afford to indulge its freeloading consumption any longer. That elephant has to go and I will do whatever it takes to get it out!!

For many years now, the elephant in the room has been my auto-immune disease, which is inconveniently known as dermatomyositis. That elephant moved on now that I’m back in remission. However, as we all know, elephants are very sociable and have fantastic memories. So once you’ve entertained one elephant, word gets around and another one quickly takes its place. You don’t even need to serve peanuts.

While having your own elephant might seem amazing, they’re actually very hard work. It might be fun riding an elephant to work or using it to clean the car, water the garden and even to do a bit of heavy lifting. However, take a serious reality check. Elephants are actually seriously high maintenance!

After all, elephants not only eat and eat and eat and eat. What goes in, must come out.

Talking about what goes in, a handful of lawn mower clippings is hardly going to feed this insatiable beast. Elephants eat 250-300 pounds of food per day on average and in a zoo, a typical adult elephant eats 4-5 bales of hay and 10 – 18 pounds, or 4.5 to 8 kg, of grain. Annually, that’s more than 29,000 kg of hay and 2700 kg of feed per animal. Naturally, buying all this food puts a serious dent in your household budget.

An elephant also needs to be bathed and thery don't exactly fit inside your tub!

An elephant also needs to be bathed and thery don’t exactly fit inside your tub!

Elephants also need to drink and in a drought-ravaged country like Australia, an elephant places an enormous drain on your resources. Their daily water consumption is 25 – 50 gallons per animal, or 100 – 200 litres. Let’s hope you’re not depending on a rainwater tank! I wouldn’t like to run into a thirsty elephant on the rampage!

Obviously, just satisfying the consumption requirements of an elephant, even a metaphorical one, takes an enormous amount of effort.

However, that’s only half the story and to be perfectly honest with you, that’s the better end of the story too!

Elephant Poo.

Elephant Poo.

As I said, what goes in must come out and in the case of a herbivorous elephant…out and out and out!!!!!
An elephant defecates from 12 to 15 times a day, a daily quantity of 220 – 250 pounds. This adds up to a yearly quantity of over 85,000 pounds of manure, more than 40 tons per adult elephant. That’s a huge pile of dung in your room and can become something of a Tower of Babel rising right up to your ceiling and you really wouldn’t want to fall in!!

Yet, that’s not all that comes out either!

Elephants also produce huge amounts of methane gas. Properly equipped, a car could travel 20 miles on the amount of methane produced by one elephant in a single day. That also makes having an elephant in the room, a rather stinky proposition, well beyond the scope of even the strongest air freshners. Urgh!

So after exploring the barest minimum survival, “nothing fancy” requirements of that elephant living in your room, perhaps you, like me, can appreciate that it’s time to send that elephant packing.

No more being nice!!

Miss in hospital waiting for her endoscopy. So brave but she also loved having her own remote control TV!!

Miss in hospital waiting for her endoscopy. So brave but she also loved having her own remote control TV!!

The current elephant in our room is our daughter’s health. She is struggling to eat and is seriously under weight. She’s 9 years old and eats less than 500 calories most days when she should be eating upwards of 1,800. Most of the time, she can only eat very small amounts and then feels sick. She also complains about bread and potato getting stuck in her throat and troubles with reflux.

You can just imagine the stress that we’ve been through having a child who doesn’t eat. She’s now 9 and this has almost been going on almost since birth. Well-intentioned multitudes have told me that they’ve never seen a child starve themselves to death but our daughter has certainly pushed the boundaries. It might just be the gastro bug that’s been going round or our increased awareness, but she seems worse over the last couple of weeks and is arriving home from school looking weak and off-colour but perks up with food and will eat something. At the same time, she’s a pretty active kid so it’s hard to understand where she is getting that energy. It’s been very perplexing.

Late last year, we took matters in hand and over the last couple of weeks she’s had a barium meal test, an endoscopy and a tube into her nose to check her throat. She’s been so brave and gone through this with courage and strength but even though I’ve had these tests myself, it’s awful to watch her suffer. My heart aches for her and I just wish I could simply kiss her and make her better! Yet, I can’t and rather than being the strong rock I’m portraying, I want to cry and cry and cry. Crumble apart like sandcastle being swept away by a sea of tears. A bit melodramatic, I know, but she’s my little girl…our princess!

So for us, dealing with the elephant in the room has meant documenting what she eats and after realising how close she is to running on empty, I’ve bought her some medical food replacement drinks to at least try to bridge the gap while we seek answers.

I know I probably should’ve been looking into her calorie intake before, but I’ve been trying to keep this low key. I don’t want this thing to evolve into an eating disorder and I wasn’t sure that teaching a child who doesn’t eat about calories was a good thing. The same goes with getting on the scales. I also don’t want her feeling bad about herself or thinking that she’s faulty in some way. I would love to be thin but the more I look into how she is, the more I’m noticing that she’s becoming like a car running out of fuel. Moreover, I’m also realising that whatever the elephant in the room might be, identification, classification and treatment are beyond my capabilities.

I don’t know whether my awareness has just increased but she’s seemed worse this last week. She’s come home from school really tired and lethargic a few times. Feeling completely confused, stressed and perplexed; I didn’t even know which doctor to call or whether I should go to emergency or what. I’m trying to limit her doctor’s appointments and so I needed to pick the right doctor out of the hat. After flapping around all week and getting some good advice from the pharmacist and some food replacement drinks, I finally rang her paediatrician yesterday. I was trying to get my story out and convey some sense of urgency but didn’t need to. She gave me an appointment this very Monday. The only thing worse than having to beg and plead for an emergency appointment is being offered one. Then, you know that your worries are really something to worry about.

At the same time, I am so relieved!! Whatever we’re dealing with, we are no longer alone. Our concerns are being taken seriously and help is on its way. Our paediatrician really is excellent and I know he’ll help us navigate whatever this is and find a clear path. We are also fortunate to know two people with delayed gastric emptying, who have been very helpful and supportive. I also expect we’ll be seeing a dietician and other health professionals who’ll enlighten us.

I’m sure that now we’re starting to expose the elephant in the room and reveal it’s true identity, it’ll either take off straight away or deflate from a 4,500 kilo elephant into a mouse-sized ornament.
I sure hope so!!

Thank you to all those of you who are supporting and encouraging me through this journey with our daughter. It is much appreciated and reflects so positively on the bonds of friendship forged through blogging and even though we have never met face-to-face, that we are connected, if not becoming good friends.

Love and blessings,

Rowena xx

Sources

http://www.elephantconservation.org/stay-informed/just-for-kids/