Friday, October 14, 2011

October 13, 2011: A New Year...

Julian's Fabulous Footies of the Day!  Enjoy randomly placed picks of the J-Man during a recent diaper change (without the gore of course...)


My auto-filler told me that this date last year had a title of A New Day +2.  Well, it was fitting to morph that a little to describe today's post.  It is a new year.  A major hurdle has been successfully jumped over.  Funny, I was afraid of hitting the one year mark because it felt like everything after a year would just seem so much further away from Bella.

Not exactly true.

It is further away from the pain, but no further away from Bella.

THIS is what the healing process of grief work is all about.  The memories and relationship don't recede, only the pain attached to those memories and relationships... IF you are willing to walk and work through that pain and fully experience it, process it, and (for lack of a better word) complete it... the pain, that is.  Otherwise, the pain stays frozen... attached... glued to the memories, and that is one thing that time does NOT heal.

We live in a very pain-averse society today, and that isn't necessarily a good thing.  Pain is a necessary signal sent from one part of the body to the brain to inform us of injury, danger, breakdown, etc.

Suffering, on the other hand, is the story we make up about the pain we experience.  If you watched either of my videos at Joe Polish's events last winter, I touched on this important distinction between the two.  In other words...

Pain is a signal
Suffering is a choice

Don't be afraid to be in pain.  The fear leads to suffering, and then you have pain AND suffering, and it becomes a vicious circle that feeds on itself.

I sit here tonight feeling like a tremendous amount of pain was lifted along with those balloons on Tuesday.  I went to work at the hospital today with none of the pain I experienced in the past couple of weeks.  If anything, there was a levity present that hadn't been there in a while... so much so that I was literally playing with colleagues, patients, even my supervisor today.  I haven't had as much fun at work as I did today in a long time.

I share all this because I think God is using me as a guinea pig to show others what it can look and feel like to not turn away from the pain of grief work.  We don't do grief well as a society.  There aren't many good models for how to do it that aren't laden with misery or suffering.  We are considered "weak" if we seek help.


The human experience.  Death - Life - Death.  We (as a body) don't exist, then we live, then we die and no longer (as a body) exist.

Any questions?

And yet, our society is all messed up about this process, as if there is something inherently wrong with it.  I tell you this: the sooner we can be free around death, the sooner we can be free to really live!  We can be present, we can embrace the now, no matter what it looks like, because you know what?  In an instant from now, it's gonna change.  Then, it's gonna change again.  Then, yup, it's gonna change again!  I know, the nerve, right?

No one is guaranteed tomorrow.  Hasn't this lesson been seared into our hearts enough?  What do you think natural disasters and massive tragedies are?  Lessons!  They are the opportunities of every day, turned up REAL LOUD so we'll finally hear them through the noise of our busy lives.  I realize now that my 5 best friends being murdered the night before the Oklahoma City Bombing in 1995, and the terrorist attacks on 9/11/01 were WHAT IT TOOK for this lesson that tomorrow doesn't necessarily follow today to be permanently imprinted on my psyche.  Now, I (do my best to) bless tragedies, because it dawned on me on Tuesday that I now see tragedies in a very specific way:
Tragedy = an opportunity to become one's best self.

You know people like this in your life, in history, I suspect that many of you ARE this way.  You RISE UP to meet the challenges of the day, no matter what shape they come in, and you find a way (because there always is one) to see God in it, to bless it, to be grateful for it, despite the sweat you might break overcoming it.

Each of our journeys with its ups and downs, is valid.  The stressors are real.  They're just not significant or unique, that's all.  They are part and parcel of the human experience.  They are the resistance that we require in order to become stronger.  Muscles and bone don't get stronger without resistance.  Mind you, they can wear out from over exertion, and THAT is where self care comes in.

Do not mistake self care with self ish.

Is it selfish to eat to nourish your body?  No.
Is it selfish to sleep to replenish your body?  No.

Without your vehicle, you don't get very far, right?  Wear out your car, and it breaks down.  Then, you can't go anywhere, your plans get totally foiled, and you're out a bunch of money in repairs... oh and friends and family have the schlep your poor ass all over the place.

Sound familiar?  This is how it is with our bodies.  No different.  This is how it is with our minds.  This is how it is with our souls.

Self care.  The pathway to the required strength and courage to face this glorious human experience head on, no matter what it brings.  Think I'm full of it?  Read about Louis Zamperini.  THAT guy has been THROUGH IT... and he's sayin' the same thing.

ALRIGHT, alright... this is me now stepping off my well-worn soap box! LOL.

All I can say is that I truly feel called to share this journey, and so this is me lettin' it rip!

God night.

P.S.  Children's Cancer Research Fund put up a fun little video of me in my fabulous socks from the 5k run in June HERE.

P.P.S. It was our dear friend Courtney Roth's birthday today!  Go give her some love HERE!


  1. He looks like you, Tim, in these photos!!

  2. The day and night before the sad anniversary are always the worst for me. And they day after it is much, much better. May be when it's over the weight of anticipating the pain really goes away. Who knows?

    Julian really is just like you, such a sweet little man in his shirt!


  3. Your writing about pain and suffering are very helpful to me right now Tim. Very helpful. I don't know you. Will probably never meet you but I do read your blog and there are times when it actually collides with my life and feelings.

    I still am a bit taken back it's been over a year. I remember reading it as if it were yesterday.

    My prayers are with you and yours! Kim

  4. I think the J-man is the image of his Mum, however, in the top photo his eyes are very like his nanna Sheila!At the end of the day julian is like himself and a very handsome little guy to boot.Good to see you have the message re pain and suffering so sad you had to go through/going through so much to get it.I continue to pray for us all