Sklover’s Monday Thought: “Remember that guy who gave up?“

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“Remember that guy who gave up? Neither do I.”

– Unknown

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This seemingly simple thought conveys a striking, perhaps urgent, message: “Don’t Give Up,” no matter what.

The challenge or crisis you may face, now or in the future, whether medical, emotional, financial, spiritual or otherwise, is just that – a challenge or crisis – something that can be addressed, alleviated, perhaps even resolved . . . that is, so long as you “Don’t Give Up.”

Crises by their very nature are often staggering, shattering, even overwhelming. They can be gradual in arrival or appear without warning, as does a lightning bolt from the sky. But, don’t forget that every thunder storm eventually runs out of rain.

A client of mine, who I will call Patricia, is facing a crisis right now: uterine cancer that has metastasized into her lymph nodes and other areas of her body. For over a year now, neither radiation treatments, chemotherapy nor surgery has halted its spread. Yet Patricia has not given up and has no plans to do so. She is dutifully following her medical regimen, and buttressing it with a healthy diet, daily positive online meditations, a dose a day of fresh air, and keeping in close touch with friends and family who provide her with healing encouragement and support.

She says she is “on a journey back to health,” and nothing is going to stop her. Indeed, lately there have emerged a few very promising signs. “My money is on her.”

A family member, who I will call Morris, is also facing a crisis at this time. He has been hospitalized and bedridden for some four months now with nightly fevers of over 105 degrees. Despite comprehensive medical testing of many varieties, including exploratory surgery, none of the medical experts at his world-famous hospital – or other medical experts who have consulted for him – has come up with any definitive diagnosis, and for this reason, no treatment plan, either.

Yet he “soldiers on,” doing all he can to assist his doctors . . . first and foremost among those efforts, “He Won’t Give Up.”

As a young child, I spent significant time with my mother, then in her mid-40’s, inspired by the bravery she showed each night when she turned the lights off to go to sleep, despite her having had six major heart attacks. But each morning, when I made her breakfast before going to school, she would smile, and tell me “Do your best, and don’t you ever give up” in whatever I did that day.

She braved on, until her seventh and last heart attack. Perhaps her “Don’t give up” perspective came from her being a refugee from horror, a child who somehow managed to “get away” to this country, and a precious “second chance” at this thing we call life.

These three people all experienced health crises, something that, sooner or later, strike or will strike many if not most of us. But I have known, and worked with, many, many other people going through crises of different types, whether related to career, family, depression, addiction, violence, even untimely deaths of their children.

In the course of doing so, what I have learned is that each of their determinations to survive, their courage to get through “the dark,” their “never give up” spirit, provided an example to each and all of us. An example of what it means to grab and take a hold on to life, with all of its challenges and opportunities, and to never let go. Take their message, and their example, use it, and pass it on to others: Just Don’t Give Up.

I don’t know where I first came across this inspiring message, but I think of it often. I share it often, as well, in my work. I have urged it on my children, and I’ve tried to live by it, as well, and – sure enough – it’s helped me get through some very difficult times. I hope you consider it, hold it close to you, and share it, as well.

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