Where acceptance is all there is
My husband has been working on material for a class on character that he is teaching at a prison. He found himself researching Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who spent 8 years in an unfathomable labor camp for writing a derogatory comment about their country's leader in a letter to a friend. Solzhenitsyn later went on to write the classic book - The Gulag Archipelago: 1918-1956 - and in 1970 received a Nobel Prize in Literature.
These two quotes from his book have been circling my mind over and over again this week.
“...And that is why I turn back to the years of my imprisonment and say, sometimes to the astonishment of those about me: "Bless you, prison!"
"I... have served enough time there. I nourished my soul there, and I say without hesitation: "Bless you, prison, for having been in my life!”
I am finding myself discovering lesson after lesson from these quotes.
Today I was thinking of it in relation to alopecia. Sometimes some of our most difficult periods are the ones that yield the most growth. We may not welcome alopecia, and we may not have wanted it in our lives. But what has it developed in our character?
I grew up so afraid of being different. All I wanted was to be like everybody else and liked. But losing my hair put me so far from my desires that I had no idea how I was going to make “this one” blend.
Somewhere along the way I learned how to be me. During the last 20 years I came to the realization that being “me” no longer requires me to grow a few inches of hair on my scalp. I didn’t understand this 20 years ago.
Similar (but no comparison) to Solzhenitsyn, the time without the hair has brought me to a clearer understanding of what it means to be Cheryl.
I came to the realization that what is added to me or taken away from me doesn’t change my essence. I remain Cheryl. For that alone I can say, “Bless you alopecia, bless you for being in my life.”
So, I ask. What about alopecia can make you possibly say… “Bless you alopecia, bless you for having been in my life.”