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Down the Lane: How much can a person endure?

“From the day that you’re born ‘til they take you in a hearse, things are never so bad that they couldn’t be worse.”

This was told to Sister Sue Tracey as she spoke to a female patient in a hospital. The lady said this was told to her by her Momma once. Sister Tracey included it in a story she wrote for “Chicken Soup for the Surviving Soul.”

As a cancer survivor, I have enjoyed many items in that book, and this one has been something I remembered.

When I looked up the endurance in the dictionary, I read, “The fact or power of enduring an unpleasant situation without giving way.”

Needless to say, anyone who has had cancer and had to take chemo or other treatments knows about being put in some difficult and unpleasant situations.

Many come out of it l feeling totally helpless while others go on to lead productive lives.

Sister Sue also gave these words of advice as she spoke at a cancer survivor picnic, “Emerge as a winner, not a victim or a mere survivor, but truly a thriver.”

There are many other situations in life that may cause struggles and endurances such as abusive relationships.

I think about the three women who were abducted and kept in a house for 12 years. I am still amazed at their toughness and endurance. I watched a program after they were rescued and what they were doing with their lives now. They did not let their experience define them even though 12 years of their life were gone.

They have continued living. I was so impressed by them.

The first abductee said none of her family showed up or offered support after she was rescued, much less care that she was missing. No one had come forward to inquire about her at all. She has to be a tough person.

Thank God she has someone who loves her now and is getting to know love for the first time in her life she told the reporters. Everyone else in her life had abused her in some way or other.

It is hard to conceive all she has endured in life.

There are exercises for cardio and strength endurance, but I have never heard of true endurance exercises. I think is something that has to come from within. I think most people, at one time or other, felt we are close to our breaking point and do not know how much more we are to endure.

I just talked to a close friend who sounded so desperate. She had been told by a surgeon there is nothing he can do for her and that surgery is out of the question to repair blockages in her foot.

She is close to losing her foot. She told me she was going to another hospital.

I felt so sorry for her as she sobbed and told me her story. About three or four years ago, her husband lost his leg in an accident in New York. Now it is happening to her.

She kept telling me she could not lose her foot. I kept thinking it is better to lose a foot rather than your life.

Then I thought how I might feel if I was in her position. Until we walk in someone else’s shoes do we know how we would react.

I just know my heart is breaking for her. We have traveled from New York to Washington and from Maine to Florida together.

Life can make you feel helpless at times. Sometimes we have to make difficult decisions.

Often those you love are put in situations where you can not help other than pray.

The serenity prayer is sometimes hard to do when it comes to accepting the things one cannot change. As Sister Sue Tracey ended her speech that day she said, “Live remembering that life is a mystery to be lived and not a problem to be solved.”

Life truly is a mystery at times.

Sue Staton is a Clark County native. She is a wife, mother and grandmother who is active in First United Methodist Church and Towne and Country Homemakers.