At the threshold
“The pressure of adversity is the most powerful sustainer of accountability. It’s as though everything you do is multiplied by 50 in order to surpass those with a head-start. I was never capable of slacking when at the threshold of failure.”
― Criss Jami
One year ago, for Mother’s Day, I posted about my mother’s incredible determination to press on through some daunting physical challenges. I’ve often joked about how like my mother Jeff is, but over the past 18 months, I’ve thought of that in a more serious context.
The photo above was taken less than five months after my mother’s craniotomy to repair a hemorrhaging aneurysm at the base of her brain. If you look closely at the left side of her face, you can see the slight indentation of her skull at the temple, and a tiny bit of drooping of her left eye. I was thrilled to have her at our wedding in any condition, but was especially proud of how beautiful she was, wearing a gown she had made herself not long before the wedding.
Watching Jeff (and now Matt) survive circumstances most of us can be thankful we will never face, I have thought often about my mother and others I admire, whose courage and tenacity are a legacy of strength for all who know them. My Aunt Peggy, my sister Carla, and my friend (Jeff’s Aunt) Gloria all come to mind when I think of those who have overcome.
I know there are readers of this blog who have prevailed, and are still fighting, through similar challenges; at least one of you is a three-time cancer survivor! Recently Michael sent me a link to this wonderful video by an artist new to me, Mandisa. The song is set against inspiring video clips of Robin Roberts, Scott Hamilton (a performer I admire as a brother in the faith) and Gabby Giffords. I hope seeing these amazing people will lift your spirits. As you hear Mandisa’s encouraging words, think of all those whose perseverance has inspired you – including the person you see in your mirror!
One year ago on Mother’s Day: