It probably goes without saying that it’s a bad idea to blame the CEO of the hospital (whose staff saved your life) for you getting hives during a transfusion. But no one has ever accused me of having exemplary discretion. So I tried it. What happened was this: I got a platelet transfusion in between one of my chemo sessions. During a transfusion they ask you every once in a while if you are feeling ok…no temp? No nausea? No hives? I routinely answer, “no” to these questions until one time, I did my obligatory check by peering down my shirt and that’s when I had my own question, “um, what does a hive look like?”. Then she too peered down my shirt and said with a finger-point, “like that.” We had to halt the transfusion and administer steroids and IV Benadryl (which is lovely, by the way). So, the next time I got a platelet transfusion, the CEO, who happens to be my friend, came by to visit me. I was almost done with my transfusion and with my fingers crossed, I told him about how I had gotten hives the last time and had to stop the transfusion at the very end and get extra drugs. The bag was so close to empty that he bid me farewell and I joked that i would know it was his company that gave me hives if I got them this time. As soon as he left, I went to the restroom and just for good measure, I peered down my shirt and sure enough…HIVES! I came out and told the nurse, who also happened to be the same nurse that was taking care of me the previous time I got hives. I told her we could blame the CEO. She agreed, but then, I realized she had been there BOTh times I got hives. So, I told her that it must be HER fault. Then, she said a most revealing statement; she said, “YOU’RE the common denominator in this situation!”
Well, whata ya know. She’s right. The only part of the scenario that is exactly the same every time, is ME. How many times in my life have I tried to blame my circumstances, my environment, my friends, my enemies, my boss, my kids, husband, parents, etc. for my disappointments? Not even worth my time to try to figure that out. The answer is “Too many.” The other day, my family was talking about the song, “Hotel California.” There is a great line in one of the verses that says, “You can check out any time you want, but you can never leave.” Regardless of what the Eagles meant for me to hear, what I get from this line is similar to me being the common denominator in my own life. So let’s just say, for example, that someone was unhappy with their family, their husband, or their job. And their solution was to move away, get a divorce or quit their job. Sometimes these are necessary. But then, there are times when we run away from the source of stress, only to find out that the actual sources of stress has followed us-because “wherever we go, there we are.” It’s so important for me to do the work to help myself get whole. Get free. Ge healed. I owe that to myself. It’s easier to blame other people, places and things than to accept that, in fact, I am a major part of, of not the entire part of, the problem. But as we say in recovery, “if I’m not part of the problem, then there’s no solution.” This isn’t meant to discourage and cause extra shame or self-abuse. Being focused on ourselves requires a gentle, tender approach. God gives us the Hope of change and recovery and of living a life of joy that is not dependant upon what other people do.