Relative Struggle

The dictionary defines the word STRUGGLE thus:  “To contend resolutely with a task, problem, etc.; strive.”

There’s been a fair amount of low-level, daily struggle with my family’s current health situation.  As I shared last week, my father suffered a stroke on New Year’s Eve.  He’s now in a stroke rehabilitation center beginning his comeback.  My mother is a 20-year stroke survivor, and heavily disabled.  It’s been quite a lot to pick up, between my brother and me.  All aspects of our parents’ lives now rests on us for regular attention and management.

I’ve got an old friend who’s in a similar (but more advanced) family situation.  Last year he took on the role of full-time care-giver to both of his aging and ailing parents.  His dad is now in his “final innings”, as he puts it.  My friend is channeling a massive amount of grace and positive energy as he cares for his parents, and especially his father.   Grace or not though, that effort is sometimes a significant struggle to keep a lid on everything: logistics, planning, operations, and emotions.

All that said of course, it’s true also that these two examples play out over and over by the tens of millions around the world every day.  The experience is at the end, a human experience.  Dealing with life, and struggling with it sometimes.

Being in the thick of it, an apt remark to summarize a way to think and cope goes like this:

IT’S ALL RELATIVE.   Sure it’s cliche, but it’s also quite true.  It’s a tough start to the new year in my family.  Then again, there’s a lot to be thankful for.  And considering how things are around the world, millions of people have to deal with very similar personal situations while living in much more extreme conditions.

What do I mean?

Think of these millions of scenarios playing out around the world, INCLUDING places like the Dadaab Refugee Camp in Kenya.  Or in the midst of the strife in the Central African Republic.  Or Darfur, Sudan. Or war-torn Iraq, Syria, or Afghanistan.  Or rural China, or the hinterlands of India. Millions of people struggling just to stay alive day-to-day, never mind deal with near-universal life circumstances I mentioned earlier.

It’s all relative.  When I think about the situations in any of these places noted above, that helps me cope with own particular struggles.  At the end of the day, it’s just life happening.  And I’ve got it pretty reasonable, all things considered.




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