I know I devoted a whole post last week to the miracle recovery of my son, Sam’s, teacher. His has been a story of inspiration, gratitude and the power of the human spirit.
I am convinced that not every person could have lived through what Mr. Cribby did. Along with an amazing support network, tons of prayers and a skilled medical staff Mr. Cribby had one essential component that was key to his recovery. The will to live - sheer determination.
I remember early on his wife telling a story about how the nurse was trying to brush his teeth and he refused to let the toothbrush be taken out of his mouth. At that time he was non verbal, but his wife guessed it was because he wanted to have control over something. To show his will.
His story is universal to all of us. We might not be laying on our deathbed and fighting to hold a toothbrush in our mouths, but we are all struggling with something. A relationship. Our weight. The death of a loved one. Depression. Trouble with our kids. A lost dream. Our training.
What do we do? If you’ve been reading this blog long enough, then you know what I am going to say next.
It’s all about our attitude. Our approach to life. You get what you give. Make lemons out of lemonade. See the bright side. Never give up.
Early on in Mr. Cribby’s illness, someone posted a wonderful quote regarding hardship, challenge and overcoming adversity. It became a sort of theme song to his fight and his recovery (made even more relevant because he is from Maine):
Focus on the goal, not the difficulties. Let your instincts steer you. Keep flying one day until you arrive.
People ask me often about the stress fracture and how I stayed so positive, then came back to run the Boston Marathon a few months later. My answer? I had a choice.
#1 The Bitch Approach: Live everyday pissed off and annoyed that I was injured. Make everyone around me suffer. Complain. Whine. Have a pity party.
#2 The Cribby Approach: Accept what is and fly until I arrive.
I couldn’t do choice #1. I can’t stand to feel so down and I’m sure as shit not going to drag my husband, kids, family and friends into the crap hole with me. That’s not fair to them. I can hang on the dark side for a bit, then I need to find the bright spot. Even if it’s just coffee with a friend or swimming one lap in the pool. There is a bright spot.
In my mind, the point is not to totally avoid suffering. That’s unrealistic. The point is to know what we’ll do with it when it arrives.
There are much bigger blows in life than a stress fracture. That was just a dress rehearsal for the inevitable hard times to come. I’m not a pessimist, but I am realistic. My three legged, one eyed dog will probably die in the next year (I mean, what’s he going to lose next? His penis? Then what would he lick all day?). My parents are getting older. One of my kids could get sick. Life is unpredictable and bad shit happens. How will you cope?
How have you dealt with suffering in your life? (Besides crack). I know many of you have endured great hardships, injuries, losses, piss-poor races and disappointments, so do tell.