Picture this: In the middle of your path lies a huge erratic.
Most often we think of the word ”erratic” as meaning “unpredictable”. An erratic is also the name of an unusual rock or boulder that was moved by glacial action.
It can be shocking to find an immense barrier blocking your path. How did it get here? Why here? Tumbling massive rock like a child’s marble, a glacier moved it, shaped it, changed it. A powerful force of nature; it is intriguing, impressive, and inspiring. Finding an erratic boulder in your path may also a good metaphor for dramatic events in life.
Chronic disease is like a glacier, slow moving yet powerful, capable of carving the landscape of our lives. My sister, brother, and I shared the same genetic risks for heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Like a boulder, an immovable feature in the landscape, we could not choose our genetics. Yet we did chose different lifestyles. Over time, health issues arose for my siblings. Chronic diseases shaped and changed their lives. At ages 67 and 64 respectively, both my sister and brother seemed OK, living the way they chose, until a short time before they died. As if there had been a slow moving glacier, slowly tumbling them, wearing down the edges, chronic disease weakened them until their lives suddenly stopped. Yet both sister and brother would tell me to not be sad. They liked their lifestyles and were happy that they lived independently until the end. It’s a matter of perspective.
Personally, I’ve fought being caught up in that glacier of chronic disease. For decades I’ve kept weight, cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure stable. I’ve had to move around a few erratics in my lifepath. Daily doses of healthy delicious food and fun vigorous activity are my lifestyle choices. Like running down a rocky path, working through the challenges keeps me nimble. Being and staying healthy is fun and feels good. That is my perspective.
We all have challenges that land in the middle of our life paths. Yes, it is important to stop to consider whatever is blocking our path. Notice the size and shape. Be impressed. Notice whatever needs to be noticed. Take time to understand the situation. Then move on. Take the next step to move around and beyond it. Take one step at a time and soon you may find yourself in a new place or on a new path or enjoying a new lifestyle.
All it takes is one step at a time.