“Happiness cannot be travelled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude.” ~ Denis Waitley

Most people fear burdening me. They are hesitant to remind me that life indeed goes on. Messy, complicated, beautiful and serene. When they try to shield me, that is when I am most afraid. 

What kind of monster would I become if I couldn’t participate in the lives of others? How hardened and callous i should be if I found myself unable to rejoice in your celebrations or to give comfort in the trying times? To be an inspiration to some and be inspired by so many. 

Perhaps it would be easy to exist in my own world. No explanations, justifications or judgements but also no relief from the pain and sadness. 

In this way, I find myself grateful; surrounded by an ever-growing community of every day hero’s. Not hero’s because they perform extraordinary feats but because they persevere and endure despite the circumstances they find themselves in. They show me what it means to fully engage with what’s left of the life I have before me. 

This week, I was honored to visit a woman whom I consider a hero. I learn from the grace in which she lives her life. 

My friend Miriam was diagnosed with Bilateral Classic & Atypical Trigeminal Neuralgia as well as Geniculate Neuralgia.

The trigeminal nerve provides movement and sensation to the face. Trigeminal Neuralgia is regarded as the most painful condition to mankind. The pain on one side or both sides can be brought on, simply having a breeze touch your face, or brushing your teeth or laughing. 

October is Facial Pain Awareness month. Currently there is no cure. 

As Miriam points out, “There is no way to adequately describe the severity of the pain one feels with any of the facial pain conditions listed. It’s horrid, relentless and the true meaning of suffering. ”

Miriam’s beautiful spirit would never allow anyone to describe her as anything but ordinary. So untrue. This is what life had fated for her. She must find a way to live through it, for herself, her husband and her two daughters. 

But I love her so much. 

Every day, since February 18th, Miriam sends me inspirational quotes. She pours the love she has an abundance of to ensure I know I can do this. I have support. I have faith. I am blessed with love. No matter what she is experiencing, she thinks about me every day. 

This is the world I want to be part of. 

Miriam is my inspiration to be more than I was before. She has taught me that life is not linear. The curves and the overgrown paths of your journey may lead you to places you never expected to go. Nor would you have ever wanted to. And yet that is precisely where you find your purpose. 

Grace and gratitude.