The Will to Live

The joy, far outweighs the pain.

Why is it for some, that sorrow turns them bitter or cynical? Life closes them in, unable to communicate, instead believing their own truth. It changes them. We all see it but they don’t. Why do some of us question, there is more? There has to be. I can tell you this for sure. Why do I have the will to live, when others don’t? They believe their own smile, but deep down you know they’re suffering. Why can I see past my suffering when others can’t? I have known the most physically beautiful, seemingly happy, limitless and free, succumb to depression, and even worse………………… Yet I’ve also met people that have suffered the deepest of scars, that they bear deep each day but take each step of their lives looking forward, not looking back. Smiling with dignity.

If I could tell you that all you needed to do to find change in your life was to step in someone else’s shoes, would you do it? Im telling you now, life is hard. Please believe me, but its hard for everyone. This world if full of injustices. Things we don’t need to see. I was stopped by a beautiful Ethiopian man in the streets of downtown Margaret River. He was at a stand, representing an organisation raising money and awareness for refugees in the enormous camps sprawled across Africa and South Asia. Like most locals, we politely acknowledge him but for me personally, I have my animal welfare groups that I donate to monthly and I genuinely couldn’t commit to anymore regular donations. I had passed him a few times, in a few days, always with bags and boxes of rubbish on my way to the bins at work. He finally got the courage to say to me, he didn’t want my money, just two minutes of my time.

He quickly showed me a map of the large scale camps and where they were located. It was so depressing. But what he really wanted to show me was where the money they collected was going. They supplied sterilisation packs for women who had just given birth. Matts with sterile scissors and other things to cut the umbilical cord and keep the baby and mother safe from infection. He explained that in these camps where rape is rampant and babies are being born under tarps on the ground, umbilical cords were being cut with whatever they could find, namely rocks and broken glass. He mentioned that he had spent 7 years of his teenage life inside one of these camps. He continued to tell me that we live like kings compared to these people. In fact, there is no comparison. After saying all this, he then asked me if I could sign up and commit to a monthly donation. I simply said, I wish I could save the world, then walked away. I left feeling gutted. Thinking about the young girls in those camps and what they must witness and endure. The ones with the will to live, will survive. They will see the beauty through the sadness. The hope that lies everywhere. They just have to try harder to find it. Like this man talking to me clearly did.

So where did this man find his will to live. I can tell you now, it wasn’t through sarcasm. It wasn’t by being narcissistic, nor was it by feeling sorry for himself. It probably wasn’t by drinking himself to oblivion, or not stepping outside of his comfort zone, in his case, probably a tent with 10 other forsaken people. It was by asking for help, asking questions and getting involved. It was about being pro active and realising that there was more to life than behind those fences. You create your own luck. It’s still luck, don’t forget but no one found the pot of gold without it. I say I am one of the lucky ones when others only look at my scars and can’t comprehend why I feel that way. I asked questions because I knew there was more out there. I wasn’t going to accept dying on dialysis and all the complications that came along with it. Not yet anyway. I knew it just wasn’t my time, but how did I know and why did I question my limitations when some of my closest friends and family don’t? Quite simply, I wanted to feel freedom in every way, on every level. I know that I’ve come along way but I also know how much more there is to process before I can totally accept all of what life has to offer and immerse myself in its absolute infinite beauty. What I have learnt is I can only take the good with the bad and as much as I’m afraid of facing some of the things that most scare me, I also know, that’s the key to it all.

So this is what lies before me, right now. I’m sitting on a plane, Brisbane bound to smother myself in Dan’s family love. Even if he’s not here, I hope I can give them a piece of him through me and ill in turn take it back to him. I am enrolled in a one day writers workshop through Hay House Publishing. Louise Hay starting it all with her book, ‘You Can Heal Your Life’. This company is HUGE and millions of people world wide read these authors published through this group as they are the leaders in life writing. I am hesitant to say, they write ‘self help’ books because it scares the sceptics, away. I believe that everyone has a story to tell, some more exciting than others and for those that choose to tell it and do it well, have the power to resonate, inspire and empower. You think that fiction can take you away, wait until you read what some people go through in real life!

I became friends with a Childhood Support Group Network on Facebook. A couple of weeks back a young mother from Scotland posted a photo of her beautiful 10month boy named Daniel. She was new to the group and so introduced him and his story and thanked the organiser of the page for adding them to the group. He was on dialysis and went on to explain that he was doing really well and they were looking forward to him reaching 15kgs as then he would be eligible for a transplant. I looked at this boy with the rosie cheeks and sparkling eyes and just stopped and stared. I was once like him. I was on dialysis at 9 months old. I had forgotten that once my mum had to deal with such despair and an uncertain future for her child. So now, people like little Daniels mum can reach out on such groups and find people in similar situations to get support. I posted straight away that I was once like Daniel but after two transplants and now a ripe old age of 40, I’ve never been healthier, and that there is hope and always will be.

She thanked me and all these other mothers continued to post pictures of their babies along with their kidney stories, some as young as two weeks old. I cried for all these babies because I knew what they were in for. For most of them, they will have to endure two transplants in their lifetime. If 15kgs is approximately 2 years of age, at most a kidney transplant will get them 40 years. But it’s ok, with advances in medicine, they will get through it. I did. As long as they have the will to live. Was I taught it? I don’t know. Was it the unconditional love of my parents? I don’t know. Was it because I was brought up with faith in a god that I couldn’t see? All I was told that this mythical man was going to look after me so I should put all my hopes in a religion because a group of people that only resonated love when I was around them told me so? Maybe. I do know for sure all those things gave me confidence to believe everything was going to be ok. Do you understand now why I fell so damn lucky? I was given the will to live and I want to know for myself, where the hell it came from.

After four days here in Brissy, I’m off to Melbourne to be with my blood sister who herself is going through a challenging time in her life. Who isn’t though? Its life baby. But it’s so much easier when you have family by your side to deal with it. I’ve enrolled in a two day seminar with a science based life writer who talks about ‘self actualisation’ and other cool stuff. Dr.Wayne Dyer is his name and for two days I get to listen to this international best seller speak. I am going on this self discovery tour to challenge my writing skills, to learn new things but mostly to be with me. When I get back home I start managing a shoe store that I have worked at for over 4 years, just 18 months after my kidney transplant. I want to be the most prepared I can and that is by letting go of all doubt because I was asked to do this job for a reason. They believe in me because I believe in myself. The last words Dan said to me before I left was, lets work really hard for a while then do what we do best, take off and be free. What more motivation to succeed do I need. A few days ago I found out where the word Hobo came from. Its short for homeward bound. I can wait to be one.

Maria

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The man that help get me here. My awesome kidney specialist.

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