Rise Above the Darkness

“Tonight, you will have to be your very best. You must rise above your fears, your doubts, and your fatigue. No matter how dark it gets, you must complete the mission. This is what separates you from everyone else.”-William H. McRaven (Adm RET)

Before their most dangerous training dive, the one where the most training losses, both injury and death had occurred, Adm McRaven heard those words. These young brave 'frogmen' have begun mastering the Peterson, bubbleless diving platform, a big advantage to surprise in war, no bubbles. But, it was not Scuba. Now they must demonstrate their skills, in darkness, heavy fog, so dangerous a mission was it, that the instructors were more nervous than the men who were 90% through six-month 'frogman' training!

The will to rise above adversity, 'to rise above the darkness' that tries to surround our chronic-pain-lives, to have the courage to at least start the fight, is key. We train ourselves displaying the ability and skill to draw from within, whatever rabid perseverance is needed, until a small victory comes, against the odds, what seems impossible is very possible. That victory shows that I am still in charge, not Chronic Pain Syndrome. That is big, a little hope goes a long way!

Even if the effort is moving our leg for the first time after our stroke, or talking, able to work at improving our pronunciation, the shape of our mouths, even our thoughts and emotional attitudes, when we fight like a snarling dog against these disturbing, impossible, daily trials, we win a chance at continuing our life, with less pain, and more pleasure than the prognosis predicted.

I started out disabled, now I am becoming enabled! Instead of fighting to improve some past catastrophic event (brain surgery to fix one thing, with bad stroke after, not before, ugh), I am now moving steadily toward a future renewed 'Renaissance' in my life. My life is now, finally, future focused, rather than dragged down by our past, the past is gone.

I am still unable to do some important things I could do before. So, I've begun doing many new things instead. Things I can do; paint a picture, sing a song, swim a mile (I could swim 5 before, but 20% above not able to swim, I will take). My mile swimming, replaces being able to hike very far, and other important to me physical abilities. So I began kayaking. Swimming 5280 feet in 35 minutes, a feat which took me eight years of fighting, not just to swim, to swim and improve, like a crippled old man I walk in water and swim slowly, but I'm working on swimming 2 miles! Raising $10k for the fight by swimming across Hood Canal.

Not only am I doing something that should be impossible for a 'disabled' person to do, swimming one mile across a fjord is not something even the average swimmer can do. They don't have the courage to even think much about it. That courage gives me victory everyday, the will 'rise above the darkness', rather than sink even deeper (yes, I have those days too, but fewer now). Showing that I can, even after nine years of struggle, is how I win. CPS loses.

It is 3am, when a frogman begins his most dangerous missions, but I am 'rising above the darkness' this morning. It may, probably does, look crazy to 'normal people’. Another big day ahead. Tearing down a 100- year-old well-house. Working with my son. I treasure these days, they are rare and valuable.

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