Strength in the face of pain or grief. (OED definition)

I heard someone talk on courage a few weeks ago, an inspiration and a challenge. It is not just the ability to face a challenge or an obstacle without fear, but it also requires confidence, a conviction that what you are about to go through is not beyond what you can bear.

When I lay in that hospital bed eighteen months ago, I did not know what lay ahead, or what the lasting consequences would be for my life. But I knew that I had a choice. I could let fear take over, and sink into anxiety, panic and depression. Or, I could acknowledge what happened, and try to make the most of it. I chose the latter.

That is not to say that I did not feel afraid, or panic, or have moments of real anxiety. Those first moments when I couldn’t move, and was told I faced spinal surgery were among some of the most frightening of my life. The unexpected events in our lives can challenge our innermost being, and reveal what we value the most.

I took courage in the fact that I was not alone, surrounded by family and friends and supported by many others. And even in the middle of the night staring at the stark white hospital ceiling, I knew I was not alone. I trusted in someone far greater than myself to be in control where I could not.

The key to courage is faith.

Published in: on February 10, 2011 at 7:57 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Time for a faith lift…

I’m not sure if it’s too late in the year to be talking of New Year’s resolutions, but one of my resolutions is to finish writing a book. I began to write about a year ago, but encountered some obstacles on the way and have begun this New Year with a resolute determination to finish it this time.

Some of you already know the story, others will never have heard about it before. Yet I hope all of you who read this blog will join me on the journey I am about to embark upon in order to finish the book. I will share excerpts as I write, and invite you to take part in the adventure too. Many of you have been part of the adventure from the very start, being an encouragement and support over the past eighteen months. Thank you.

The event that sparked the desire to write, and inspired this blog in the first place, will form the basis of the book. A challenge of faith, of forgiveness, an experience of great pain yet filled with hope.

I hope that as I share my story with you, that it will encourage and uplift you too.

Published in: on January 16, 2011 at 5:43 pm  Leave a Comment  
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My Heroes

Last August an air ambulance saved my life. Today I ran 5km in a bid to fundraise for such a valuable service. Lives are saved daily by the dedicated paramedic team and pilot who serve vast areas of the country and provide a vital service.

I ran alongside a girl who had been airlifted on exactly the same date as I had been last summer. She had broken both her legs in the accident she was in. Both with titanium-enhanced skeletons, pinning broken bones together, we joined family and friends and took on the challenge of the race today. Battling with the heat and driven by the knowledge that we were not just running for ourselves, but for countless others who owed their lives to the services of the air ambulance, we pushed on through the pain and ran.

It was a tremendous sense of achievement to finish the run, and express our thanks to the crew that had done so much for so many. To be able to walk, let alone run is a gift many of us take for granted, but every pace I took today was my way of saying thank you.

Air ambulances are not funded by the government, but rely on private giving. They offer a service that can make a critical difference between life and death. Without them I would not be running today.

Find out about your local air ambulance here.

Published in: on May 23, 2010 at 6:46 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Time for a Career Change?

I picked up the newspaper today and found I was reading a story about myself.

Well, almost.

The story was strangely familiar; a postgraduate student with a Masters in International Development (like me), struggling to find a job (like me), even though she already has experience in the field (like me).

The article then took on a more chilling tone as it revealed the reason behind the paucity of jobs in the sector. All postgraduates desperate to get a foot in the door with aid agencies and NGOs are competing with those in the development sector who have just been made redundant, but already have 10-15 years of experience on their CV.

My heart sank.

I know its tough finding jobs at the moment, and getting into development work is by no means easy, but no-one wants to hear that for every job they apply for there is someone else with ten times as much experience competing for the same role.

It’s difficult to know whether such a discouragement necessitates a change of track, or merely more willpower to keep fighting.

I’m undecided.

Published in: on September 23, 2009 at 6:44 pm  Leave a Comment