Monday, February 24, 2014

How Do You Deal With Adversity?




We’re all there. At one point or another, we’ve all dealt with something that has put life on pause and sent us spiraling on a wild ride. Whether it’s death, sickness, rejection, a move, or other life changes, we all go through it.



But do people really move past hardship? Or does it just become a part of who we are?


I know for me, I won’t ever get over seeing my two-week-old baby die in front of my eyes. It’s nothing I can ever erase. I still live the experience over and over again sometimes in my mind. I know that I won’t ever get over watching my little son battle cancer. It’s indescribable. This past year, my 2 year old fell twenty feet. The panic is something that is etched forever in my soul. And a couple months ago, when I found out I had an infected growth in my head that would have killed me if it hadn’t been discovered---I won’t ever forget the pain and sickness that came with that period of my life.


Sounds dramatic, right? But we’re ALL facing these things. Whether it’s through friends or family, or personally. I think of Jeff and his wife, Roland and his latest surgery, Michael and the accident he had this year—and the list goes on. There is so much strength and perseverance shown by amazing individuals.


But how do people really deal with hardship? Are you someone who reacts well in a crisis and doesn’t have a breakdown until later? Or do you breakdown during a crisis and are fine later? Does time ever heal all wounds?


For me, I don’t think so. I think that every trial we survive and overcome becomes a part of who we are. It’s ingrained in our make-up. It changes who we are. Whether it cripples us or strengthens us.


So I don’t think we ever really “get over” adversity, I just think we learn to adapt. We become stronger. We learn to accept whatever we’ve faced and how to turn it into good. Even when the memories can be debilitating at times. We face fears head on… because we have to.


Isn’t that why we as writers, keep pushing? Sometimes there isn’t anything more crippling than a rejection, but we either keep trying or quit. Just like we choose to face a problem, or let it eat us alive.


Hardship is a big reason why I write. I started writing to release all the emotions that were built up inside of me. And ironically enough, what once was an escape is now my hardship. (LOL! I didn’t know that when I first put pen to paper that it would become such an emotional journey)


But I also believe in miracles.


All of my trials have turned out for the better. My baby revived after 60 seconds of CPR. My boy is now cancer free. My 2 year old walked away without a broken bone. And I will be more than fine health-wise. So I choose to believe that if we keep pushing, that we will see the light. That we will have that moment when we can look back and see why everything happened the way it needed to happen.


Red. Head. Out.
 
 

49 comments:

  1. Those are all miracles, Morgan! Thankful you will be all right, as will your two year old who fell.
    Those things are always there. They shape us. It's how we react in the long run that matters. Do we move forward or do those things destroy us? Do we hang on to the pain and anger?

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  2. Oh my goodness Morgan! Why do you do this to me??? Your post makes me want to hold onto my kiddo and never let go! I can't believe the things you've gone through, and I think you are such a strong person.

    Also, I'm sending you an email. :)

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  3. I do agree that adversity becomes a part of us, but not in an unhealthy way unless we want it to. I don't think that haling necessarily means forgetting though. It's possible to heal and still retain the memories.

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  4. Hardship and how it's handled makes us what we are. Some deal with it better than others. Some need more help. I'm good when the crisis is happening, then I fall apart afterward. My older daughter has CVS, so I've had lots of practice. (see tab at my blog, it's a long story)

    Liked your post - hardship is one of those things no one wants to happen to them.

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  5. What once was an escape is now my hardship...isn't that so so true, ha. The only thing that gets me through the next trial is the ability I have to look back at the past and realize the Lord has NEVER let me down before. I've always come through, and I'll do it again this time. Beautiful post.

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  6. Oh Morgan. Those are miracles indeed.
    We all have our crosses to bear, and some are heavier than others. I often wonder why some people are faced with more adversity than others. Or maybe it's a perception... just seems that way since nobody will know for sure, the unseen moments of adversity experienced by the next person...?
    But one thing is certain, it's an inescapable part of the human experience... part of the Divine Masterplan.. I do believe it helps to strengthen us... mold us and shape us...
    Writer In Transit

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  7. Whoa........what a powerful post. I'm all teary eyed!!!!! Miracles are real and I believe every word you just said. You're amazing :)

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  8. Oh, Morgan. I'm so relieved that things are ok now. I was freaking out there for a minute. Adversity does change us. It's like scar tissue. The scars grow faint with time, but the evidence will always be there. It's bad enough when things happen to us. But when things happen to our kids? Nothing compares.

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  9. Yup, powerful indeed - you have gone through a whole hell of a lot. More than many people I know. But I do believe that all experiences stay with you and make you who you are - and when you're a good person as you are, that can't be a bad thing.

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  10. Adversity is the scalpel that the Father uses to shape us into someone strong enough to be there for others ... and to show we are never as alone as we sometimes feel. I found that out yet again as the surgeon operated on me while I was conscious for the cancers on my face. I am happy all has worked out for you in the end. We are stronger than we believe and we can do more than we think possible when the impossible is what we are called upon to do! :-)

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  11. Oh yeah... Our experiences change us and we can let them affect us in good ways or in bad ways. I'd like to think I'm better for my adversity, and when I face adversity in writing, I hope I'm able to learn from that too AND keep perspective, because it's not cancer or kids falling or whatever we're dealing with.
    ANYWAY.
    Can you tell I'm re-writing something?? lol.
    You're awesome, Morg. Excited to see ya ;-)

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  12. I definitely think they become a part of you and you decide how it affects you long term. I've faced death, real horrific death a few times, and you never know how you'll react until you're there. Good for you for using the adversity as a slingshot and not a weight.

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  13. Of course our adversity stays with us. If our lives are nothing but ease and comfort, then when something finally does push us from that, we're weak and untrained to deal with it. The key, for me, is not to let the ugly things I've suffered define me.

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  14. Oh, goodness, Morgan. I'm so glad your kids are all right (and you, too, of course). There are a lot of trials I think I can endure, but watching my kids suffer is among the hardest.

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  15. Glad you are alright and the kiddo too. We sure go through a lot,that whole it can always be worse thing never seems to help either. Endured a ton the past two years, but still here and it will always be a part of me, but in a good way.

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  16. Excellent post Morgan, thanks for sharing.
    We all have hardships,its what we do with the scars that remain that matter.

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  17. It is the hardships in our life that make us like God, if we allow them. He is making us into something more beautiful then we can imagine. Think about how low your utilities are going to be over there as you get brighter! (:

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  18. I am so, so, so glad you wrote that last paragraph. I was about to have a really sad night if I hadn't read it!! Hehe, I just took a deep breath. You scared me!!!

    I agree. I'm lucky in that I haven't faced as difficult hardships as many others have. The biggest one was the death of my writer-friend, Joey Fransisco. And I do agree with you: I doubt we ever get over it. It hasn't really become less painful, the thought of her death. I try not to think of it much but when I do I lose my breath.

    It does become a part of you. As someone in a documentary once said (I forget what the documentary's name was), your life never gets back to normal. You just find a new normal.

    Great post :) And you scared me!!

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  19. Without hardships, we can't appreciate all the good things in our lives. I'm really glad to hear your harships had happy turnarounds and that you can harness them in your writing. I think experiences, good and bad, are the foundation for good writing.

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  20. I don't even know where to begin, Morgan, but agreeing with you seems the logical place. We are most certainly changed--forever altered--by the things that happen to and around us. There is no "getting over" adversity. For months, I tried to discover who I am without Myra, but I've since realized that I am discovering who I am *because* of her.

    Thanks for the post. And I thank you for your thoughts. :)

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  21. I strongly believe that the hardships help to shape us. We cope, we adapt, we get stronger, and we go on. I'm glad you're all okay. That was a scary list of bad.

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  22. I had this family back in El Paso where I lived for a long time. they had 6 kids. One my age was with some friends in YM and went to do rock climbing and raced home. he feel between a crack in two rocks and died. next her oldest daughter had cancer and had to get intense treatments. all the while...her smile never wavered and her faith never hindered. what I learned from watching the strength in her family double...is just that. strength. it's builds and can continue to be "exercised". it's harsh what you've gone through so quickly in your young life, but it's build strength in you. HUGS to you may fashionista. hugs!

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  23. All lives adversities make us the people we are. Moving and thoughtful post, Morgan. So glad your health problems are being resolved and you can look forward with positivity with your lovely family .

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  24. It's really a challenge to find anything good in a horrible situation when its happening, and sometimes for a long time afterwards. What makes the difference is optimism. Adversity DOES change us, but it's our own choice whether to let it swallow us or make us fight harder.

    You are a tough cookie, Morgan! <3

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  25. How do I deal with adversity? Well, I cry. A lot. And then I move on, but I never forget. To be honest, I don't know if the crap I've been through has made me stronger. Sometimes I think it's done the opposite, made me less confident about who I am and what I can achieve. When I was younger I was definitely more confident. Sending you lots of HUGS Morgan and I'm so happy to hear you and your little ones have pulled through and doing well. <3

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  26. I'm bowled over by the two year old miracle baby. So sorry about your adversities Morgan but you have come out the other side much stronger. Congrats and we love you.

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  27. These moments become part of us, they change us, and if they don't then we didn't grow from them or learn anything. I don't think I would want to be the kind of person who didn't change under such life altering circumstances.

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  28. I think I'm one of the lucky one's that is able to just shut down everything during the crisis and then deal emotionally afterwards. Had plenty of practice with my baby girl. I can remember lots of people asking how we dealt with her being in the PICU for so long.. you just do. There's no magic answer, you just push the other stuff aside and deal. You can fall apart later, but when it matters you find that no matter how emotional and scared you are.. you can deal with what comes at you. Heavenly Father made us that promise, that he won't give us more than we can handle. So.. you deal.

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  29. Hi Morgan,

    My dear friend. Despite the trials and tribulations you have endured, your boys have endured, there is so much positivity, on so many levels, within your powerful, heartfelt posting.

    I have a firm belief that through adversity, we have choices. You have chosen to find the strength, the resilience that makes up your fortitude. Part of your strength is your altruism. This has been duly noted by me and I'm profoundly grateful to know you.

    My battles with adversity have been done, in my personal world, on my own, with no help. Yet, the determination of doing it alone has enhanced my determination to see that all will be just fine. The encouragement of dear folks such as you on the other side of my computer screen is an amazing gift.

    Bless you and your beloved family, Morgan.

    In kindness and admiration,

    Gary

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  30. So glad it all turned out well for you...at least in the end. That should be your message- that you don't know in the midst of the crisis how it will end, so why not maintain hope until there is none? Never, ever give up at the beginning or the middle. Same with your writing. It seems like it's a fail, but only when you get to the end of the journey will you know what the end result is. You know the saying, the only way to fail is to quit.
    Hugs Morgan!! I wouldn't want to walk in your shoes.

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  31. I'm so glad your baby revived! I can't even imagine how that must have felt. My own daughter choked on a banana, and that was some amazing panic. I think that those dark moments in our lives stay with us. Sometimes, they take over, but they are forever part of us. My family is a bunch of do-ers, so when there's trouble we get things done. My family's motto "If you can't be happy, be productive."

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  32. Hi Morgan - others have so much going on and you've had more than your fair share of hardship to deal with - absolutely just wonderful you've all come out smiling and are able to enjoy life. We tend to remember the better times - I'm glad to say, however the challenging and stressful times shape us. Equally for a husband or wife, a mother or a father, or a child losing a parent early ... we can't forget as you say .. but remembering something positive helps, and there's always a positive, however terrible things have been ...

    With thoughts to one and all - Hilary

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  33. Wow. You've been through a LOT. I'm glad for your many HEAs.

    I'm the kind of person who does well in a crisis, then falls apart later. Some people probably think I'm cold or I don't care, but it's not that. The reality of it just takes time to sink in with me.

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  34. You're a tough lady, Morg. Maybe tough isn't the right word... more like resolved. You've made the decision to keep moving forward in life regardless of the adversity, and that isn't always easy to do.

    And that's my answer to your question as well. The people who experience trials and don't give up are the most successful people I've met, not the ones who've never faced difficult times. And the resolve seems to be the key. So many things--including our bodies at times--are out of our control, and the only thing that is within our governance is our mindset.

    It really comes down to making the decision that today isn't going to beat you--tomorrow might make a dang good run at it--but today won't. :)

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  35. That was a masterfully crafted post. I was nearly in tears...nearly. You're right, we become collections of our past, triumphs and tragedies, molding us to our present day selves. We can't, nor should we want to, truly get over a past hardship because it has helped us become who we currently are. Is it good or bad? Neither, it is. We can build on it, move forward, and use our experiences to our advantage or demise. It's a choice. And I choose to believe in miracles, too. Thank you for the mid-week (for me since I'm two days late) inspiration.

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  36. Beautiful post, Morgan. Last year my 23-year-old son, recently graduated from college, ready to launch his life was diagnosed with cancer. Watching him go through treatments that weakened and sickened him was the absolute worse thing I have ever been through in my life. During it all, however, we just kept walking through each day as positively as we could. Like you, we saw a miracle of a complete healing, and only then did I allow myself to feel the heaviness and weariness of everything. My solace? Digging deep in my soul and reaching out to God. Boy, that made all the survival difference to me. And yes, it has directed-- redirected-- my writing and thoughts.

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  37. A very moving post, Morgan. Not sure if it helps, but what keeps me going is the thought of all those who came before me and the hardships they dealt with. It sounds odd, but since a part of them is in me, I somehow know I have what it takes to get through anything and that always gives me strength. Best wishes.

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  38. What an incredibly beautiful post. I believe all our trials become a part of us. I think if we try to separate ourselves from them, we can't move on. We need to deal, become stronger, be hopeful.

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  39. Holy shizballs, Morgan! You deserve a medal! I hereby give you a virtual one :)

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  40. Anyone who doesn't believe there are still miracles aren't paying attention.

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  41. Wow, those are some incredibly situations! And I agree--adversity really helps mold who we are. I'll also admit that I'm horrible at dealing with it. I just keep myself busy enough that I can ignore it. Not the healthiest of things, but something I'm working on :)

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  42. Those are some amazing miracles you've lived through. I actually have two quotes similar to this subject at the start of Part III of my contemporary historical Bildungsroman:

    "I have always believed, and I still believe, that whatever good or bad fortune may come our way we can always give it meaning and transform it into something of value." (Siddhartha, Hermann Hesse)

    Perfer et obdura; doler hib tibi proderit olim. (Be patient and tough; someday this pain will be useful to you.) (Amorum, Ovid)

    Maybe one of the reasons for my car accident in August 2003 was so I can write characters with limps and leg injuries authentically, drawing from my firsthand experience. I'm convinced my uncle was watching over me, and that my Southern Italian body type saved my life. A taller, thinner person might've been thrown or crushed, and not had as much flesh to cushion the impact. It's amazing only one leg broke when both were pinned under the wheel.

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  43. Hey Red!

    Adversity, i.e., crisis...i.e., opportunity. An opportunity for growth. I realize you know this, but I just wanted to reiterate.

    I think as you, it becomes ingrained—a part of who we are. I will never get the images of Mom's last days out of my head. I only now returned to church on a regular basis and singing with the gospel quartet again. It took some healing before I could be around others.

    You are remarkable. These things are put in your path to make you extraordinary. Peace.

    Bru.Net.Out.

    M.L. Swift, Writer

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  44. I'm sad I didn't notice this until now. Thank God for miracles big and small indeed.

    I don't have kids but my hardships always seem to come in the form of my animals. One of them I had to rehabilitate and give physical therapy to by my own two hands, and her recovery was nothing short of a miracle. She was never supposed to walk again. Now she goes on daily runs with me.

    If it wasn't for the hardships, I don't think we'd appreciate the happy moments nearly as much.

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  45. Good God... and I mean that literally, Morg :)

    'Cos that's exactly what I was repeating until I got to the last paragraph and then I was like, "Oh, thank God!!!"

    (You had me going... and it wasn't a pretty sight... I nearly stopped reading to send you ah OMGosh DM on Twitter!!!)

    Okay, so I can breathe again... and I understand a LOT more know.... Dude, I wouldn't be able to write my shopping list let alone a WIP.... so you, too, don't be too hard on yourself.... golly something not-normal was growing in your head.... Helllloooooo :)

    Anyhoooo.... I know you won't, but *don't* let this current writing hardship define you....

    You is SHAMY STRONG :)

    ((MORG))

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  46. Oh, I like Koop's new term: SHAMY STRONG! You're my hero! Love you, friend.

    I went through a miscarriage. I'll never forget that baby. I'll never forget the pain. I'll never forget my 'at the time' 4 year old waking up 2 weeks after the miscarriage and telling me he dreamed of his baby sister, Olivia(we didn't know the sex or have a name). He told me he played with her in Heaven with Jesus. She wore a red shirt, his favorite color. And I'll never forget how much closer the ordeal brought my family to God.

    Bad things happen. It's how we react to them that shows us who we really are. And you, my friend, are amazing.

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  47. I think that when people say "time heals all wounds" what they are trying to say is that the passing of time tends to dull a memory of a traumatic event. When things grow "dull" in our minds, then they cease to bother us. For example (and I don't mean to offend) but you say you'll never forget the death of your baby. Well I would beg to differ if you were to get Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer's is so bad it will cause you to forget your entire life, and that's one reason why it's such a deadly disease.

    However, just as you point out here, adversity changes us. I don't think we can possibly predict in what ways it changes us, but it definitely becomes a part of our character. Good or bad, we spend our whole lives filling our minds with memories and experiences.

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  48. Listen you... DON'T EVER DO THIS AGAIN! My heart raced out of my chest and up the wall until I read your last paragraph. I get the 'DRAMA' factor, but really. Giving stern look now.

    Yes, as I certainly know miracles DO exist and WE DO GROW STRONGER from life's experiences. Life is tough... make no mistake. It's not for the weak. Each day a new battle erupts. Each day a new beauty is revealed. That is the mystery of our lives. Our journey. Good, bad, and indifferent.

    All we can do is dig deep, focus on the positive, and keep breathing.

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  49. Since my comment wasn't saved after I wrote it, I wanted to write another one. :) I love how talented you are in so many aspects. But what I love most about you is how you see others' talents that go unnoticed by most other people. Thanks for being such a great neighbor. I love getting to learn so many things from you!

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