Friday, June 20, 2014
I used to feel that life was really unfair. Paralytic polio followed by 9 years of assault at the hands of family members. My father's suicide weeks before I was getting ready to go to Boston University. Bankruptcy. Having to sell all of my possessions...the list goes on and on... Living with the late effects of paralytic polio and trauma and at the age of 53 being diagnosed with post polio syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease.
And then I began to look at all the ways and times I was being watched over, guided, and redirected; the amazing people who came into my life at just the right moment to keep me from going over the edge. I began to practice an attitude of gratitude finding the miraculous moments that were the very fabric of my life. Here's one of a million examples:
I didn't have enough money for my last semester of graduate school at Boston College. I didn't know what we were going to do. We had a little black and white TV that we would put on the counter at our apartment at 75 Gardner Street in Brighton, Massachusetts to watch the evening news while we got dinner.
Paula Lyons, consumer reporter came on and told us about a new loan program, MEFA. I went to the financial aid office the next day and voila, had enough money to finish my M.S.W.
In spite of all that happened to me and for me, I was spared so much. There were times when others came to the rescue and times when I would rescue myself from situations that were no longer in my best interest.
Every situation serves a purpose.
Recently, I've learned how to transform what is into something wonderful.
I cannot run in races with a fast field. Nope - not happening. I'm not going to put my body, mind or Spirit under that kind of stress anymore. But what I will do is either be a spectator and cheer on my family and members of my running community family or volunteer.
While I can take on any volunteer assignment, I've learned that I need to let people know what works best for me.
People are so understanding mirroring the compassion I feel for myself.
When the call went out from my running club, L Street, for volunteers for the Jim Kane Sugar Bowl, I answered the call letting the race director know that I needed to have a chair wherever I volunteered. The Club President emailed me and said she had the perfect job for me. A two hour shift for early bib number and t shirt pick up.
I will run in races that I know will be enjoyable. Racing in and of itself is a challenge for me and this year I'm taking on the challenge of training for the Tufts Health 10K for Women.
Because I had to leave my job at the VA for health reasons, Tom will need to delay his retirement. We are so blessed that he has a wonderful job with good benefits and fortunately he is not ready to retire yet.
But rather than feel like we have to wait until he retires to spend time during the week together, I am going to meet him for lunch on Wednesdays before my Aquatics Therapy class at Spaulding. I can spend time at the Waterfront after lunch and before class begins and then we commute home together.
When life seems unfair, rather than sit and whine, it is an opportunity for us to discover how well we can fare. We can always turn things around to create a fulfilling, purposeful, and vibrant life.
My memoir, "Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing, Hope and Possibility" is now available on Amazon.
"Wait, I have one more goal," Mary McManus told her personal trainer in February of 2008 shortly after coming out of her toe up leg brace. "I want to run the Boston Marathon for Spaulding Rehab Hospital." Mary traded in her polio shoes for running shoes and embarked on the journey of a lifetime. Mary McManus was at the height of her career as a VA social worker when she was told by her team at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital’s International Rehab Center for Polio in December of 2006 that she needed to quit her job if she had any hope of preventing the progression of post polio syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease. In “Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing, Hope and Possibility” Mary takes you on her seven year healing odyssey as a survivor of paralytic polio and trauma from her diagnosis, to taking a leap of faith to leave her award winning career at the VA to heal her life and follow her passion as a poet and writer. You’ll experience her trials, tribulations and triumphs as she trains for and crosses the finish line of the 2009 Boston Marathon and discovers the opportunity for healing in the wake of new trauma: the suicide of her nephew in 2011, and the aftermath of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. This is Mary's journey of coming home to her human form free from the influences of the ghastly ghostly invaders who had invaded her sacred earthly home. Her memoir includes journals and blog posts from her seven year healing odyssey. This is her journey of transformation and her message of healing, hope and possibility.
I donate 50% of royalty payments through on line sales to The One Fund to help Boston Marathon survivors and their families. Copies are also available at Brookline Marathon Sports. $5 of each book sold at Marathon Sports is donated to The One Fund.