Monday, October 29, 2012

My life matters, your life matters. Change the world!

By: Carissa Haston
G-PACT President/Founder

You don't appreciate life as much until you've almost lost it. Once you are given a second chance, you really realize the meaning of it and how fragile it can be. So few people have the opportunity to re-evaluate life and the meaning of it.

My life isn't like "It's a Wonderful Life" in that I was never born, but I see it as if I have had the same opportunity to see what changes I can make to make the world a different place. I have learned this at a very early age. I appreciate life so much more! I get excited about the teeniest things that most people see as mundane and routine.

If something goes wrong, I'm normal and I DO complain, but I quickly try to straighten out. Problems are problems and they are tough. Life is tough. It is what it is. Some of us have been forced to tackle incredible challenges, while others have experienced a relatively normal life with relatively normal problems. But, we all have our struggles and I don't believe that anyone's problems are minor. They are all a big deal and have a profound influence on us. We grow through them, regardless of what they are. I want to hear about the struggles of everyone, regardless of how "minor" they may seem in comparison. I care about your concerns. They matter to me too! God must have really big, active, and perfect ears because He hears from me all the time!

People often ask me how I do it. How do I deal with so much? I don't really have any choice! No, it's not easy. No I am not always as strong as I appear to be or as I say. I'm just glad I'm still here to experience the problems and work my way through them. I am a stronger person for it. I get stronger all the time.

Going through a transplant is TOUGH. The process, the fears, the unknowns, the loss of others not so fortunate, the complications that arise, the complications expected to arise from long term-medications, and feeling lost in a world where people haven't had the same experiences. Trying to balance out my health life with any sense of "normalcy" like a job, having a family, living on my own, and having energy to spend time with friends and just hang out is challenging. I want to be "normal" in terms of life activities, but my body too often has its own plans. Some days I am too weak to get out of bed, while others I am energetic and ready to conquer the world. I never know what each day will be like. None of us do, but it's much more real and unstable for me.

I can be happy, jumpy, and feel well for half a day and be in the ER or hospital later that same day. I can look really good for a while, and then I crash out and can't move. I can be out driving, and then have to stop to avoid falling asleep at the wheel. I can feel well, then eat a piece of cheese or a few crackers and be sick the rest of the day. But, I am a fighter. I know I am strong.

I don't always feel strong though. Sometimes I just want to cry and cry and cry. I want to scream, throw pillows around, and shut out the world. Sometimes it doesn't seem fair. But life isn't fair. I don't know why I have been through all of this. All I know is that I can't imagine what my life would be like if I hadn't. What would I be doing? Would I be better off or worse off? Would I be as strong? Would God and relying on Him be as high of a priority in my life? I can't imagine my life any differently. I don't know it differently. Not that I wouldn't love to be functioning as my healthy friends and loved ones, but I'm not sure I really "miss" it because I don't really know what I'm missing out on. Maybe a day in the life of YOUR shoes would help me understand. But, I'm not sure I could handle the pain of experiencing a day in the life of an average person and really realizing what I have lost. Or perhaps, the pain wouldn't be as strong because I will realize what I have gained too. The things that you are missing out on because you haven't shared the good side of my experiences.

To the outside world this is horrendous. Yes, there are times that are horrendous and I want to give up, but I honestly don't know life any other way and perhaps that's one way I can cope. I've learned to adapt, change, and work through each new complication as it arises. I've had to become flexible. The fact is, God always comes through for me and gives me what I need to deal with each situation that arises. He will never allow me more than I can bear. When I feel like it is too much, He will always be there to supply all my needs. The feelings of His provisions when I am absolutely desperate and at His feet is something that can't be matched. Oh how He loves me so! He has been there for me in amazing ways over the past few weeks. I have felt His presence in the midst of some pretty tough challenges and He has brought me through in His own unique and loving ways.

What has this given me? I have to focus on that rather than what it has taken away. While it has robbed me of so much, it has given me so much more I believe that only a few people who deal with the same situations can obtain. Compassion unmatched by anyone who is not in my shoes. The opportunity to help others in ways I never would have had. I've met some incredible people who I can't imagine not being part of my life. I have matured and grown in ways that many people never do. I have an understanding and appreciation for the finer things that people don't notice. I love Mondays! Monday is another day of the week to cherish and live out the second life I have been given. It's not a day to dread!

I LOVE life. I say this all the time, but I LOVE LIFE! Even with its challenges, its ups and downs, discouragements, fears, overwhelming sadness, devastation, there is so much GOOD! Just look around you! There is so much to enjoy in life! So much to learn, so many people to meet, so many things to experience!

I LOVE people. I love helping people. I love being around people! All kinds of people! I used to not be as accepting of such a wide range of backgrounds, but now I LOVE everybody! I realize that everyone has a purpose in life. Some make bad decisions, some try to hurt me intentionally, some don't understand me, but it's ok. God loves everyone...EVERYONE. I strive to do the same.

It's so easy to feel useless in this world when you can't keep up with others or give back as much due to limitations. Your life matters. Whether you are homebound, unable to work, unable to give much back to society, whether you are brilliant or mentally challenged, a president or a pooper scooper, what you do is important. Somehow, somewhere, your life has had an impact on someone. That someone's world has been changed because of you. If that's all that you ever feel like you have accomplished in life, you have changed the world!

In a recent Carissaism I stated "Some people write and others speak. Some build and others destroy. Some see the glass as half-full, others half-empty. Many lead, others follow. Some are outgoing, others shy. Some are anxious, others calm. Some work ahead, others procrastinate. Some enjoy a busy schedule, others like to be free. We all have our differences. We don't always agree. But when we all come together, what an impact we can be!"

Make a difference in your world today! Even the simplest things matter!

Monday, October 15, 2012

If only you knew...

By: Carissa Haston
G-PACT President

I wish that you knew
The pain that I feel
And how much it hurts
This is all so unreal

The loss of so many
Yet so few who care
In spite of the efforts
To make them aware

The hunger and pain
The loss of close friends
The tears that just flow
It all never ends

This illness is silent
It can't be seen
Yet it won't relent
no one hears our screams

All we do us fight
And we try so hard
There is no end in sight
And you think it's not true

"Change your diet a bit
Quit whining, you're stressed
Get out of that pit
You're just depressed"

Do you really know
How hard we try?
For a sloppy Joe
Or one bite of French fry?

But the hours we endure
All curled up in beds
Longing for a cure
Wish it WAS in our heads!

It's just so tough
You don't understand!
Waking up each day
"Can I do this AGAIN?"

I'll try one more bite
It can't be THAT bad
This time it just might
Digest just a tad

Then the pain, it hits!
It's so hard to deal
a moment of pleasure
And for days we just reel

And people they die
Our friends leave us out
They think we are fake
"You just want to pout!"

Have you had the flu?
This is worse than that
Is that real to you?
This is horribly true!

Of course I look good
I was up all night
Just throwing up food
Does that really seem right?

I long for an answer
I believe in a cure
I will never give up
Will you carry me through?

I need your support
Hold on to me tight
It's incredibly tough
To get through this fight

If you spend time with me
I know that you'll see
I'm one tough kid
Who will fight to the end!

You will see how I cope
That I'm working so hard
I have so much hope
And I'm nowhere near weak!