As we countdown to Christmas, I offer you the gift of prose – a resilience poem – which I reckon all of us can benefit from…
I honestly believe that there are very few people who live a charmed life, despite appearances to the contrary.
We are all at some point faced with life challenges, such as the reality of losing a job, declining health, anxiety, depression and the ultimate leveller, death.
This year has seen the usual rollercoaster of events across my illness cystic fibrosis (CF)*, my CF friends and community: from survival against all odds, to the miracle of lung transplants to chronic bouts of suffering and sadly to deaths. Only this week, I saw on Facebook that two 20 year old CF friends had died within days of each other.
People who battle with a chronic physical or mental condition demonstrate that life is tough and can feel out of control. Underpinning everything is the harsh realisation that life is short, fragile but precious while it lasts.
Often our individual life challenges are obdurately fought in silence which can increase the feeling of isolation and despair, sometimes on a daily basis. When life is getting us down, we need the gift of resilience to see us through to another day…
‘In life sometimes prospects may seem darkest when really they are on the turn.’ Elbert Hubbard
An ode to resilience
I recently discovered a wonderful poem by British Canadian poet Robert Service, written in the early 20th Century, ironically entitled ‘The Quitter’.
I was won over by its battle-cry prose, and used the poem during the conclusion of my speech at the Wantage Literary Festival in honour of the famous poet John Betjeman, who is synonymous with the event.
The poem does contain some old-fashioned language. For example, ‘It’s according to Hoyle’ relates to the 18th Century writer Edmond Hoyle to mean an ‘appeal to authority’.
However, throughout its glorious prose, it poignantly explains that when life is tough, be determined to survive, don’t be a quitter! If ever there was a poem that depicts that daily mindset required to keep going against the tide, this is it.
For many people, some life challenges can understandably feel overly arduous. Even getting through the next hour, day or week can seem too much to stomach when spirits are horribly low and hope has been vanquished.
BUT, often the difference – as per the poem and based on my daily survival – is to have one more try. To get up and go again.
I hope you like the poem – you’ll all need it one day!
Wishing you all a happy Christmas and a healthy new year!
I dedicate this blog to my CF warrior friends Oli Rayner and Helen Toghill, who inspire me to keep on battling!
I will keep you posted on my life-affirming moments, trials and tribulations as and when they happen. Please keep reading and sharing my blog and sign-up (on the right hand side tab) if you have not already done so.
Yours cup half full.
Tim Wotton (author of Award-Winning CF Memoir ‘How have I cheated death?’)
Fantastic video – please watch my good friend Mark Phillips as he did a tandem sky dive for CF!
CF community – to see if CF patients and carers can be compensated to help scientists find a cure, please complete this short survey. Thanks!
* Cystic Fibrosis is one of the UK’s most common life threatening inherited diseases, affecting over 10,500 people. The condition affects the internal organs, especially the lungs and digestive system, by clogging them with thick sticky mucus. This makes it hard to breathe and digest food. Each week, five babies are born with the condition, however, each week, three young lives are also lost to it. There is currently no cure for CF. However, existing gene therapy trials in the UK are bringing people with the illness closer to a form of cure but CF is not that well known and would benefit from more public donations. For more information and to find out more view the CF Trust Website.