my journey and observations about life

How Good is Good Enough

It is hard to write and open your life up during a time such as this.  A time such as the period that I am going through.  It is so deeply personal, intimate and painful.  Some people close to me know most of the story, but I haven't shared what's going on with the rest of those that support me.  Well, I can't share the details.  What is going on is too painful for consumption.

I lay here awake again at two in the morning unable to sleep.  I am alone, away from my girls and my marriage is ending.  There are so many thoughts that race through my mind about how this could happen. There are also thoughts about could anything different have been done.

When you are fully well in life and health, people expect you to be able to overcome anything.  To pull up your bootstraps and get up and fight for everything.  I have always been that person.  In sickness, I have had to change how I have fought because I lack the ability and stamina to fight like most people.  I could say that my neurologic and systemic disease has robbed me of life.  Some would call me a victim.  I could say that even laying down, I was always fighting.  Some would harshly say get off your butt and fight harder.  There is no winning when things fail.  When your best isn't good enough for others, they tear you down and spit you out.  It is painful.

I was watching Mr. Holland's Opus the other day and I was reminded of how even at your best you are not good enough.  In the movie, Mr. Holland worked all day and all night to try and make things work in his life.  But in the end, he was not giving his hearing impaired son what he needed.  He shouted "I'm doing my best!".  To which his wife replied "well your best is not good enough!".

There are times when we do need to hear this.  It is painful to hear especially when you are not well and already feel like everything is a painful task.  But I was reminded of this when I had to leave and move out on my own.  I realized how much more I could do.  The sad part is, it isn't very much.  My best was already being given as I suspected, but it wasn't good enough.  So I have repeated things in my mind a thousand times, "how good is good enough".

My simple answer is this.  At the end of the day, I have given my heart and my soul for the ones I love.  Some have stuck around and been steadfast and supportive.  Some, painfully, have decided that I don't meet their expectations and have moved on.  This is the hardest thing that I have had to reconcile within my life.  I have always been a fighter and I will never stop.  The people that know me best, with one exception, have stood by me without wavering and supported me till this day.  The exception is the most painful one of all.  It is the one I can't talk about.  It is the one that has dealt me a blow so painful that it has dragged my heart and soul to depths that I may never recover.  But here at the bottom, I am slowly, painfully try to stand again.  My health is failing again, I am alone and starting over.  And that was my good enough that failed.

Sometimes our best efforts do fail.  We cannot always control our destiny.  We think that we are in control of our lives but it is all an illusion.  One minute you can be healthy and working, the next minute you can be diseased and homeless.  It can happen to anyone at anytime.  I'm not here seeking compassion for what is going on.  I have been dealt what I have been dealt.  I will keep moving on as I always have, ever more aware of how painful this journey has been.

I have made some great strides this year in many areas, but they go unseen by many.  I no longer have to use a cane to walk.  I voluntarily and against medical advice, weened off of all pain medications even though I do suffer from immense systemic pain constantly.  I did this as a part of my good enough.  To prove things that I shouldn't have to.  But also to do things that are better for my body long term.  I have been working intensely with meditation and biofeedback therapy to help my mind work around the pain my body is manifesting.  It doesn't always work, but I am slowly making progress for the first time in five years in this area.

I have accepted my fate of pain and suffering, but not imminent death.  I won't accept death until it takes me.  Sure I won't live as long as every one else, but that's ok.  I'll take whatever I have been given and embrace it.  None of us truly know how long we have to live, we just expect it.  Nothing else matters to me other than my two girls and getting as well as I can to help others.  I want to start missionary work if my body and mind can get stable enough for the task.  It is the hardest thing, not having control of your mind, your logic, memory and thinking.  My mind most days is a fog that I have to carefully and painfully sift through to do simple tasks.  It is hard to understand what is going on, but I do have hope that the fog will one day lift and I can begin to heal in that area.

So I leave with this; my best is what it is and it always will be, my best.  You are allowed your judgement and perception but you also should think about your life first and then never judge others.  Accept a person for who they are and treat them as the person they can become, not who you want them to be.  Encouragement and support go a thousand miles further than judgement and condemnation.  For you will find one day, when all the facts are laid out before you, that my good enough was way more than you ever knew about or could possibly comprehend. 

Andy BarwickComment