I ended my Boobtube watching last night with one of the THREE shows on primetime TV that I actually choose to watch (Grey's Anatomy, Numbers, and Criminal Minds). If you've ever caught an episode of "Criminal Minds", and of course are interested in deviant behavior and law (that's kind of a prerequisite!), this is the show for you. It's based on the actual FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit that exists in the United States...the characters and story lines in the SHOW are not real, but the FBI BAU really DOES exist.
I "brush up against" a bit of forensics work in my job (usually in the form of reading reports from the State Hospital), but hopefully the patients I see have never committed heinous crimes...fortunately, it is not the CRIMES portrayed on the show that fascinate me, but the BEHAVIORAL dynamics and investigation that keep me "hooked" on this show...that, and the wonderful quotes that come at the beginning and ending of the show in the form of narration.
Last night's ending quote was one from Kahlil Gibran, a Lebanese-born poet from the late 1800's/early 1900's. The quote really got me thinking about my own life and "character" for some reason...it was as follows:
"Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars."
It certainly doesn't take "genius" intelligence to get the gist of what Kahlil was trying to say here...Big characters come with some history/scars...it is these experiences that "grow" our characters. But hang on to follow my rambling twist on this...
So, as I'm laying awake in bed last night, unable to sleep, this quote kept rolling over and over in the waves of my pre-slumber mind. Strong souls...massive characters...scars...
We've ALL had them...scars to our psyche, that is. We have all "endured" something along our path in life, whether we've been diagnosed with MS or some other disease...whether we've endured physical, emotional, or spiritual trauma. It is these very experiences that have molded us into who we are today...whether our characters be "massive" or not.
Now, add to the equation of pre-sleep thought a commercial that's running right now with one of the Redgrave girls talking about how she'd like to die from too much laughter, or from dancing, or from...but she REFUSES to die from breast cancer. Massive characters and dying began twirling through the holes in my MS brain! I began melding together thoughts about MY character and dying...and just HOW I would want to be remembered (Hold on! This is not morose...bear with me!) in life and death.
We often hear those sappy quotes about how "I have MS, but it doesn't have me", or "My MS doesn't define me"...I have always brushed them off as trite and too simplistic for my "genius" intelligence. LOL But in review of my bedtime thoughts last night, I came to the conclusion my MS DOES have me and it HAS BEEN defining me. And, more importantly...THIS IS NOT WHAT I WANT TO BE REMEMBERED FOR IN THIS LIFE...character-building or not! Whew!...You thought I'd never get to the point, didn't you?!? LOL
It IS true...Multiple Sclerosis has been a "massive" character builder for me (whether I now have massive character remains to be seen)...and with two or more relapses a year, it has been consuming my everyday activities and life...it has been the basis of much of my daily focus. It has been in front and center in my every step, every fear, every thought of my future. "It" has been consuming me...and hopefully building more character along the way.
But in thinking of my life pre-MS and now, I began to wonder what OTHERS are seeing in my character? I began wondering just how I might be eulogized in death...what I would be remembered for? And then, it hit me like a lead balloon...I DO NOT WANT TO BE REMEMBERED AS THE WOMAN WHO HAD MS!!!
I want to be remembered as someone who worked hard,who loved "big", who enjoyed the simple things, who laughed loudly, and someone who found the humor in all things in life...I want to be remembered as someone who gave from their heart, who was welcoming, who danced to music anytime/anywhere...someone who made you laugh, who held your hand when you cried, who comforted the sick and suffering. NOT SOMEONE WHO "SUFFERED" FROM MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS.
So, as much as it "pains" me to repeat this or say this..."I have MS, but it doesn't have me"...this is my new mantra for 2007. Banal or not...it is how I MUST begin again to live my life if I want to be remembered for the other things above.
How big is YOUR character? What do YOU want to be remembered for? Yes, this IS an interactive post...please leave your comments below...