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With a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction degree (Goucher College, August 2014), I am looking at a new phase in my life. From 1992 to 2009, I served as Founding Executive Director of Miriam's House, a residence for homeless women living with AIDS. I left this position when Chronic Migraine Disease overtook my ability to do my job. Now I hope that a writing career will both accommodate the migraines and give me a creative, productive outlet. And soon, September 4, I will launch my Inkshares author page in a bid to hit the 1,000 pre-order goal in 90  days. The book I want to publish is "Nowhere Else I Want to Be," a memoir of ten of my years at Miriam's House.

26 September 2014

Opportunities Within the Pain

I have a lot in common with my my brother, William Marsh, whose photos you've seen here since last July. Lots of what we share is wonderful -- an understanding of the importance of mission into the world around us, searching for spiritual maturity and wisdom, and my appreciation of his ironic sense of humor.

Some things, like thinning hair, aren't so wonderful. And one, migraines, is downright awful. But yesterday, during a phone conversation, we got to talking about learning to recognize the good that can come out of having a migraine -- about things that happen, thoughts that occur, and wisdom that arises. He mentioned this photo specifically:
Photo by William Marsh

He had taken this strikingly dramatic picture one night when migraine pain awoke him and he walked out into the cool night in an effort to relieve some of his discomfort. He said that if the pain hadn't awakened him, he would have missed this gorgeous sight.

He calls it "finding the opportunities within the pain." He said, about the photo, "Out of the disorientation and pain came this opportunity to get one of the best pictures I've taken. And I sometimes have provocative thoughts, flashes of wisdom, and a unique and oft-times humorous perspective when the migraines are bad."

Although neither of us chooses or wants to have migraines, it's helpful to remind each other that there are these serendipitous moments that comprise the silver lining to the migraine cloud. Both of us would give up the migraines in a flash if we had the chance, but it's nice to be able to find the positive in them, to be aware that opportunity is there even in the pain. Plus, we get to complain with each other. Migraine misery wanting migraine company, as it were.

It's about taking the reality of your life and making the best of it. All of us, regardless of what kind of adversity we face -- physical illness or disability, emotional ill-health, devastating sorrow, loss of job or relationship -- need this skill, the ability to pick out the good amidst the bad. It's hard to talk about it without devolving into truisms and hackneyed phrases. So I'll stop, and we'll just look at Will's photo.


Thank you for reading my blog. You can comment below or email me at carold.marsh@gmail.com.

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