By Marilyn Fowler
There are times when problems knock us flat without warning. Other times they creep up on us, and we don’t realize they’re there until we feel too weak to pull back up. Either way, a weakened state can make us believe we’re helpless, and all we can think about is giving up. Too weak to go on. Life is full of challenges, and we can’t escape them. Age itself requires adjustments and new ways to deal with life. But there’s something in each of us that’s programmed to pull us out of the hole if we give it a chance.
It appears that all creatures have this inherent drive, or will, to life. And this is what keeps us breathing and getting back up when we’re knocked down. I prefer the term will to life rather than will to live. To me, the will to live means to be alive. The will to life means to thrive and grow. But we can’t do that if we refuse to get up when we feel like we can’t. We must make a choice.
Birds strive to fly again when their wings are injured, animals lick their wounds and try to heal, fish come to the surface for additional oxygen, plants reach for sunshine when they need energy, and people pray for strength and enlightenment for healing. At our most desperate times, that inner Spirit pushes us to life. And it will bring us through if we listen. We can’t afford to give up.
After a merciless winter a few years ago, I thought I had lost the peace plant on my patio. But within a short time, I saw some new growth peeking through the dead leaves, green and healthy. New, tiny leaves saying, I lost a lot of what I was, but I’m starting over and will become even more. My heart jumped. I felt so happy. I wanted to hug the little thing. It reminded me how strong the will to life is, and I have that within myself. I too can start over and become even more. Not easy when I feel I’m on my last leg, but it’s doable.
We could take a lesson from the other forms of life. Maybe they listen to instinct, whereas we allow fear to take over and look for excuses to give in and give up. I’m grateful to my little peace plant for reminding me that I can get up and do more than what I sometimes think I can.
When you think you can’t get up, listen to the wise Voice within. It will carry you through.
Marilyn Fowler is a retired Licensed Clinical Social Worker/Psychotherapist. She was Mental Health Team Leader, then Director of Mental Health Services in the Duval County Jail in Jacksonville, Florida. She later coordinated mental health services in five nursing homes, worked on in-patient units, and was in private practice for a number of years. Her stories have appeared in the Salvation Army magazine and in a book entitled, When God Spoke To Me, by David Paul Doyle. She stays active in her church and writing group, and teaches a class at a local college. Her memoir, Silent Echoes, was published two years ago. Marilyn believes that a sense of humor is a blessing to be used often.