I've gotten to the point over the last few days where I've given up trying to understand WHY they wrote such mean things, and focused on the fact that I wrote the best book I knew how to and God sees that. He's the only one I should desire to please, though praise from fellow humans is a great thing too. :)Days passed. The world continued to turn as if my bad reviews didn't amount to more than one tear in the oceans. Then I got another email from Louise.
I've been thinking about you and wondering how you are. Are you feeling any better after having to suffer through those few not so nice reviews? Just remember, it doesn't matter what those people, or person thinks, you know deep down in your heart that you wrote a FANTASTIC story and so does your publisher and so do people like me who've read it.
Keep your head held high and be proud of what you've accomplished with The Familiar Stranger!!! Christina, it IS an EXCELLENT story!!!"What a sweetie!" I thought. But I had NO idea how truly outward-focused and giving this lady was. I'll let you recognize it for yourself in the condensed/edited email I got from her next:
I usually read a book a day so I do consider myself somewhat of a good judge of books, so if it's any consolation to you at all, yours IS GOOD.
How can I read a book a day you might be wondering? I'm totally housebound and have been for the past 5 years. I was an RN but was attacked by a mental patient back on August 24, 2004. I ended up with 3 herniated discs at L3-4, L4-5 and S-1, a tear in the annulus which is a tough fibre like material that surrounds the discs and my right S.I. (sacro iliac) joint is unattached.
I've had two surgeries to no avail, needles in my spine, physio-therapy, hydro-therapy, acupuncture etc. None of the doctors I've seen can do anything, so I'll be like this the rest of my life. I was only 46 at the time.
I cope with severe pain every minute, of every day and live on Percocet, Oxycontin and hydro-morphine just to deal with the immense pain. I cannot sit or stand for longer than 15 minutes at a time, I haven't been inside a store in 5 years, can't go for a walk, can't do housework, laundry, vaccum, change beds, cook etc. The ONLY time I leave this house is once a month to attend the doctor's office to have my prescriptions renewed. This lazy-boy chair in our livingroom has become my life, but I keep myself busy. I read, as you know. I have my laptop, I and I have 9 pen pals all in different countries.
I've also been married to the same wonderful man for 30 years AND we grew up next door to each other, were in the SAME classes all through school together. We have two boys, one currently in Grade 12. So, with no one home all day through the week, I'm allowed ample time to read a book a day!
She tells me to keep my head up! Just in case you missed it, a woman living in severe pain doublechecked on me, a healthy young thing whose biggest problem was a nasty review. Picture living in her situation. Never leaving the house for pleasure, never sitting up without being acutely aware of her body. Personally, I might harbor some resentment against the man who caused my injury. I could sit there everyday, embittering myself by dwelling on all my losses.Anyway, keep your chin up Christina and KEEP WRITING!!! I want to read another novel penned by YOU!!!!!!
I asked Louise how she felt about all that. Here's what she said:
As for "forgiving" the patient who attacked me...I have forgiven him Christina, it wasn't really his fault in one way as he was a very, very sick man, mentally. He didn't ask to be born that way and wasn't in control of his emotions. I couldn't imagine going through my life the way he did, full of rage, not understanding where the rage came from, why he acted out the way he did and actually being "afraid" of everyone who approached him. He always thought we were trying to poison him, or that the medications we were trying to give him to control his rages were actually "death pills" as he called them.
Imagine living in his world everyday and missing seeing all the beautiful things we see. He didn't see the same things we do...the beautiful birds, the colourful flowers, the bright sunshine and cloudless sky. All he saw was people who were trying to kill him, people who kept him in a room and at times 'restrained' (for his own protection). He really was a sad case and when I learned he had passed away (two years ago) I was happy for him because for the first time in his life he would be free. He would be "normal" with God in his Heavenly kingdom!The hardest part for me was accepting that I'd NEVER be able to work again. I still miss my patients to this very day and it still makes me cry if I think about it too much. Sometimes on my days off, I would take some of the patients to Wal-Mart or out for lunch because they didn't have any family or friends. I would take my cat "Snoopy" to see one favourite patients who pined almost daily for the cat she had to leave behind when she came into care.So, although my injury has been extremely difficult on me physically and emotionally, I thank God everyday that I still have my brain, my eyes, my hearing and the ability to create and choose what I will do and what I will and won't accept. I only had two choices, Christina...sit and wallow in self pity or grit my teeth through the pain and find ways to occupy my time whilst sitting in a lazy-boy chair 24/7.
Maybe you, my blog reader, are facing the start of a hard year. If so--or even if not--I believe we'll all experience a life of joy and fulfillment if we emulate dear Louise's attitude. Pray for her and her family. Allow her life to put yours in perspective.Finally, in a nutshell, the one thing that I still struggle with from this injury is the fact that it not only changed my life, but my family's life. We can no longer go away on family vacations, and they won't go anywhere because I can't go and that makes me feel terrible. Just because my life has changed, I don't want it to change theirs. I've tried and tried to encourage them to go away for a weekend together but no, they won't go without me.
For example, let's say I'm stuck in traffic on my way home from work. How much praise is built into that! I have a car. I'm healthy enough to drive. I have a job. My family awaits me at home. I have enough provisions for gas and insurance.
Try it. See if thinking like Louise will better your life
Next post: the overwhelming response to the launch of my secret Operation Share the Love.