Hope Floats

Hope floats.

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I've been working on this blog post in my head for a while now, it's the perfect follow-up to yesterday's "worry, worry,worry" post, and since Nablopomo is about to kill me (I've taken on the challenge, and posted every day this month. Only 4 more days to go!)  I'm finding myself revisiting topics that I had put aside for "later." So here we are with Hope Floats.

If you are close to my age, you may remember the movie with Sandra Bullock.Its ironic to me, because it was released in 1998, the year my son (the one with the more serious case of juvenile arthritis) was born.

If you don't remember the movie, here's the link to Amazon, where you can check it out or refresh your memory by watching the trailer:

There a quite a few parallels from our lives with JA to this movie. (I know, I'll tie everything back to JA somehow, right?)

The main character, Birdie, thinks her life is great. From the outside, she has it all. Then something happens, and her entire world falls apart.

Kind of like what happens to us after we find out our kids have a potentially life threatening illness.... one that causes undue pain and suffering, for which there is no cure.

In Birdie's case its her husband's affair that causes the world to crash down around her, making her an outsider in her small community- for us, its the disease, which isolates us from everyone around us, and takes away our "old" life.

Birdie (Sandra Bullock) finds herself trudging back on a long hard road to happiness, like we do, when we adjust to our "new normal," and make the best of our new situation.

The circumstances may be different, but the theme is the same. Something really bad happens, and you have to find a way to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and make the best of it. Despite the bad, you may find some good, or even better things (yes, I did actually say that.) that come out of the horrible situation thrust upon you.

We did. We may have lost a few friends, but we found new ones. We became closer, and had a deeper friendship with the people who stuck by us, both friends and family. We had different opportunities. We changed our outlook. I appreciated my kids more, and vice versa. We took the little things for granted less. We found happiness in the smallest victories. It wasn't fun by any means, and we wouldn't have chosen this path, but it did do many good things for us, if we would just open ourselves up to see it. It taught us the power of hope.

In the beginning, I had days where it was tough to get out of bed, and not just because I was so exhausted. The whole situation was overwhelming. It was mentally and physically exhausting. It was beyond what I thought I could handle. But here I am. I could handle it and I did handle it. We did it because we didn't have a choice, but then we did it because we knew we could.

Birdie's little girl sums up the whole movie and the sentiment behind it with this quote:

"...beginnings are scary, endings are usually sad, but it's the middle that counts the most. Try to remember that when you find yourself at a new beginning. Just give hope a chance to float up. And it will, too..."

The beginning was scary, and the end is a long way in sight, but we are living in the middle. Worry squeezes out the joy, the strength, and the hope you have inside you. If you give hope a chance, it will float up, past all the other stuff that keeps you down, and give you a new chance at the life you have been given. Just this past week, my son started a new medication. It was very scary reading all the potential side effects, but it was also just as bad seeing him a sick as he has been. The beginning this treatment was scary, just like all other beginnings. Now we are entering the middle, and I know this is the part that counts the most. The "middles" make up most of our lives, and we intend to make the most of them. We  won't give in to worry, and by doing that, we WILL give hope a chance to float up. When given the chance hope floats. When we give it a chance, our outlook is better, our attitudes are better, and our happiness increases tenfold, regardless of the circumstances.

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