“A Fighter knows a Fighter.” A friend said this to me yesterday on the phone. It was a very sweet, encouraging conversation, but that one phrase stuck with me. I have always been a fighter. Not by choice, perhaps, but meeting the challenges presented in life has given me no other option. Fight or Die, every single day and I choose Fight every time. It is part and parcel of my soul. But I don’t think anyone other than family has ever recognized the Fighter within. I was a little surprised. Yes, I am in the ring every day.
My daughter sent me a text a while ago which said, “I was reminded yesterday that one of the most amazing traits about my Mama is that she is a warrior.” I am a fighter, not by nature but out of necessity. Fighter by nature only if you mess with my husband or my babies. I will throw down on you so fast your head will spin. Not physically. I don’t even take on gnats anymore. But I love words and I know how to use them in such a way that by time I am finished, you will weep and call your mama and apologize for every time you chose to throw shade your entire life. We will be comin’ to Jesus before the bell rings and we exit the ring. I do not know how to NOT come up for air if you mess with them.
Now you can mess with me all day long until you are exhausted, sweatin’ profusely, and laid out, but you will not move me. You can throw shade and drink my tea. My 4 year old granddaughter folds her arms akimbo, taps her little toe and sez, “I don’t like you, Nee~Nee!” I smile and tell her that’s fine with me and remind her she still needs to do what I say. Now if she cannot sway me? Honey, ain’t nobody gonna hurt me with their word toss. Somebody called me a name they thought would hurt my feelings, I just smiled and thought soup. What they hoped would hurt my feelings actually just made me hungry. Words used against me truly don’t phase me. Not a soft spot for me. Not gonna expend one ounce of energy on that mess.
Now, for what will I expend all energy and every stance and technique of fight I know? To get through the day and do what is required of me. I set my own requirements. I set my own hours. I set my own limitations. My husband tries to intervene and do for me when he gets home in the evening. If I have done all I can do, I smile and thank him sweetly. But if I have anything left and he starts to clean up the kitchen after dinner? Uh, nope! We’re gonna have to talk.
Every morning, when I awaken, I thank God I’m still here and then I do a thorough assessment of ME. I know the moment I wake up how much I can do that day based on the pain I am in when I open my eyes. If you have or know anyone with FMS, you know every single moment is hot pain. Just a wrinkle in the sheet you are laying on can be excruciating. (I rec silk sheets.) Everything hurts all the time. My body feels as though I have gone nine rounds over and over and lost every round, but still standing for the next nine. My family has learned over the years where I can and cannot be touched on my skin. They have learned how to hug me because I cannot/will not ever give up their sweet hugs. And then I experience flares when the slightest sound even hurts. But I refuse to go to bed. I refuse to take pain meds. I refuse to quit! Ain’t NObody got time for that! I fight on!
So my husband and my children know when I ask for help, it is for something I physically cannot do. If I do not ask for help? I’m going to do whatever but you just need to back up and give me a minute. I love my husband to pieces but if he starts on that kitchen? I’m gonna ask him to please not. Come sit with me. Come talk to me while I rest. Come hold me while I cry and then I will get back up and I will handle that mess. It’s not that I don’t want his help and usually, when I do start to handle it, he comes alongside and we work together. I love it, but I’ma gonna be in there, too, washing, rinsing, stacking.
The COPD complicated things a bit. I have to pause a little more often. Tristan has to come chase the girls for me sometimes. I no longer vacuum at all. I know my limitations and have adjusted. The Alzheimer’s issue? Yup. Further complication, but I’ll deal. Eventually. I’m a fighter. It’s what I do. What I know. How I roll.
Here is the thang ~ Baseball has pinch hitters. Football has backup quarterbacks. Actors have understudies. Pretty much everybody has a stand in or backup. My husband who is a Senior Database Admin told me a while back they were considering hiring a Junior. These folks can step up and do the exact same job as the original. And then there are assistants. Paralegals, dental hygienists, Congressional aides, Supreme Court clerks, Admin assistants, etc. Assistants assist those who need their assistance. Go ahead, you know you wanna try saying that five times, fast. But a fighter steps into the ring alone. No one wants to jump in and share their face for the haymaker coming your way. The left jabs are coming so fast, there’s no time to replace you in the ring, and no rule that would allow for the possibility. You are in it to win it, toe to toe with life, and the only respite you get, if you’re good, is to pull a Rope-a-Dope once in a while in hopes of catching your breath and wearing your opponent down a little. But what if someone offers to step into the ring with you?
As a fighter, if you’re wise, you will surround yourself with encouragers, trainers, people much smarter than yourself, empathizers not sympathizers, and possibly buy stock in emergency ice companies. (They’ll get it to you fast, ya know?) But no one else can step into the ring for round one but you! Seriously! The thought of an alternative is crazy, right? No one goes in to start for you, no one is stepping in to give you a break, and nobody, but nobody is going to stand, take the punches, deliver the counters, and slug it out until the bell rings but you!
Here is the crux of the thang ~ What do you do when someone does offer to take one hit for you? It’s against your personal rules. It is not in your reference manual. It goes against your grain. It’s not even on your possibility radar. Someone, not your husband or children whom you can accept help from only when absolutely needed, steps up and does something so kind in effort to make the fight easier. To spare you one lick! Do you refuse as you worry it could weaken the warrior stance you have perfected? Do you refuse all the while wishing with every fiber of your being that you could accept? Do you say “No, thank you” when your mind is screaming “Yes, please!”? Won’t accepting the offer result in a TKO? Won’t accepting the help cause you to fold? To become as weak as a newborn? Won’t all your fight flee? But ultimately can you, are you willing to risk their blessing by refusing the offer?
God sees the fight and God sees the fighter. HE knows you and me better than we know ourselves. If we trust HIM, how can we not trust the people, the blessings, HE places in our lives? So, as usual, when I fight best and hardest it is because I trust the Lord to have my back.
On this day, I choose to trust HIM and look at the things HE is doing on my behalf as a gift. It’s not easy for me, but I will accept the offer of a hand in the ring, from a Fighter who knows a Fighter, who feels and knows the day you’re experiencing. It doesn’t always have to be Fight On or TKO, Baby. No one is going to call a technical and say the fight is over and you lose if you accept a helping hand once in a while. It just may help you to Refresh & Fight On another day.
Fight On ~ But try to be willing to accept help from others as orchestrated by HIS hand. And perhaps you will find out someday that you blessed others along the way. We all need help whether we can readily admit it or not…..