Circling Back on the Gift of the Paradox

© 2001 Michele Toomey, PhD


June 18, 2001

Since the gift of brain damage can only be known by engaging in a quest for essential truth, we would do well to circle back on it. We are, in fact, journeying toward essence, toward what traditionally is described as God. There can be no denying, it is a spiritual venture not outward or up, but inward to depth. By connecting with our essence and essential truth, we are connecting to God within, and that allows us to know and value the true meaning of intimacy and oneness.

Without this depth we would be left to grapple with the devastating cost of brain damage in stark reality. No wonder stoicism is often the stance of those suffering from such loss. Numbness seems better than harshness. Endurance requires a tight jaw and clenched teeth when there is only bone rubbing on bone and curse seems to be drowning out any semblance of gift.

And then there's glib. Pasted smiles and thin words that make pretense the survival mode. Without embarking on a spiritual journey toward essence and essential truth, we are left either glib or barren. Such a cruel twist to an already cruel disease. We have no power over being struck by herpes simplex encephalitis, and we are at the mercy of its damaging effects. However, we are very much in charge of how we deal with it. Make no mistake, finding the gift in it is not for the glib, nor the martyrs. The gift can be found only by those committed to integrity and responsive to a spiritual connection to truth. Intimacy with ourselves and each other, intimacy with the moments of spiritual connection, these are the gifts still very much available to you. And, fortunately, you are one who treasures and embraces them. Ironically, you are richer than you've ever been even as you are more limited. This reconciled paradox frees you to embrace what used to escape you, to "become all that you know."

"Stunned by her own presumptuousness, and awed by her own pride, she stood erect with arms outstretched and gazed up at the sky. With head held high and heart afire she communed with the galaxies. The natural laws that governed them, she knew governed her universe within. Such intimacy and knowledge gave her strength and courage without end."

"With clarity and understanding, with vision and insight, too, she embraced the challenge of her life and dared to shape her fate. It would require great self-discipline and a giant act of faith. But most of all it would take courage and a willingness to choose, even in uncertainty when she very well might lose."

"No longer dulled by hiding. No longer caught in lies. No longer governed by her fear, her clarity and insight caught her by surprise. Her image of herself grew full. She became all that she knew."

"In awe and wonder she stood up, a woman tall and true."

-- from "Her Fear" by Michele Toomey, Ph.D.

This is the gift. Embrace it. Become it. Treasure it. You do.

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