Uncle Thor's Lessons, Anecdotes and Humor


When Life Slams You: Slamming Back

(Dealing with those desperate times)

When I change the wound dressings on my legs, I wonder how long this is going to continue. I prefer to change them when nobody is around. The sight of the wounds and messy bandages might upset them.

I have not slept in a regular bed for well over a year. Most sleep is done sitting up on the couch. There is not much that can be done to mitigate pain when it happens. Progress is slow.

Two years ago, I had heart surgery. The recovery was grueling. Things started to get better for a little while. The came the other problems. I ask myself if I am any better than I was in the months before the surgery. Progress, if any, is slow. Sometimes I wonder if it was all worth it in the first place.

Thanks to the current medical situation, my life feels as if it is on hold.

I follow doctors’ orders and take my medication as prescribed. I follow the proper diet. Nonetheless, things seem to defy improvement.

The plain fact is that life is unfair. Some get more to handle than others. Contrary to what some theologians preach, this is not the wrath of an angry deity or punishment for wrongs. Bad things can happen to good people. Perhaps we are not responsible for the problem, but we are responsible to seek its solution.

There are also problems of which we are the authors. This is not one of them. In my case, it all began with a faulty part of my heart. I was born with it. That was not my fault, but dealing with the fallout is my responsibility.

I am writing this as an example for others who may be undergoing an ongoing set of unfortunate circumstances. The thing I have observed and experienced over the years is this: whether the problem is caused by you or not, the solution is your responsibility. Be it medical, mental, social, financial, locational or anything else, you are the one who has to deal with it. If you do not deal with it, it will continue to deal with you on its terms.

Life is unfair. There are no pie-in-the-sky answers and no pollyana slogans that address the situation. No sweetness-and-light quotations will do anything to help. The answer begins by looking at the situation itself and admitting its existence. Better to face an unpleasant fact than gloss it over with a pleasant lie. You can work with facts. You cannot work with lies.

Knowing what confronts you, you can begin to seek and develop solutions. The chance of a miracle solution is unlikely. It may take time and effort. It may be excruciatingly slow. Perhaps it will not go away soon enough to suit you. Yet if you do not get working on it, it will never go away.

Whether your problem’s solution requires doctors, lawyers, a financial advisor, a change in lifestyle, ridding oneself of bad habits or any other such thing, the process begins with you. You have to go to the doctor before he can help you. You have to hire the lawyer, meet the financial advisor, make necessary changes and be an active participant in your solution. You have to become willing to do whatever is necessary. Anything less than a full commitment is likely to fail.

Nothing seems to happen fast enough. The solution usually takes time. Results may be gradual. It is at the times when results do not come soon enough that you must persist. Indeed, it is necessary to persist even if you see no end in sight. Your solution may entail a test of your endurance.

There may be setbacks. Sometimes Life may knock you down. The only ones who lose are those who choose to stay down. Every time Life bowls you over, it is up to you to rise to the occasion. Getting back up may be slow and uncomfortable, but staying down is not an acceptable alternative. Those who stay down become failures by doing so. Those who respond to setbacks by rising and getting back into the effort are assuring their eventual success.

For me, this is a game of persistence. It is a matter of doing the tedious and sometimes unpleasant tasks time after time. There may be dark thoughts from time to time, but they are just fleeting shadows of the mind. For now, it is a matter of doing what I can and waiting. Conditions may be different for solving your problem. Nonetheless, it is important to get involved in implementing the solution. Make the commitment and then act. Nothing gets done without your input.


Feelings are part of the process. There will be good feelings and bad ones, days of hope and hours of despair. The important thing about feelings is that you address them rather than let them work against you. Admit to yourself what you feel: hope, doubt, fear, concern, etc. You need not, and perhaps should not, admit it to anyone else. Accept how you feel. When you do so, you are able to adjust yourself in light of these feelings. Admitting fear allows you to prevent it from affecting you adversely. You know it is there and so are able to minimize its input into your thinking and actions. The thing is that you admit feelings, but do not wallow in them. Put the fear, self pity and other unproductive feelings behind you. This is an effective way to sidestep the quagmire of dark emotion. Especially in dire times, manage your mind. Put intellect over emotion and do not feed into your feelings. Trust your instincts and put your faith in reason. Millennia of human existence has shown that when we put our faith in reason, we tend to get good results.

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