Posted in after the diagnosis, coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, living with chronic illness, Living with Illness

Winning as the Dark Horse

It’s amazing the lessons we can learn about life simply by paying attention to popular culture.  I know that the American public watches too much television, but you can learn the lessons of life without turning on the tube simply by keeping your ears open to what’s happening.  There have been two instances this week that reinforces the idea that no matter what others say; it’s your belief in you that will carry you across the finish line. 

“Dancing with the Stars” crowned their new champion and the champ is none other than gymnast Shawn Johnson.  All season and even till the end the entertainment critics had pre-coronated Giles to be the winner, but the public who gets a voice saw things differently than the producers and the judges.  If we need repetition for emphasis than look no further than last night’s “American Idol” finale (that I watched).  The underdog Kris Allen was crowned the new “American Idol” over the judges pick Adam Lambert.  On Tuesday night’s American Idol the judges basically placated Kris into receiving the consolation prize without knowing the results, aren’t they embarrassed?

What does this mean for you following your diagnosis of a chronic or life-threatening illness?  Even the experts get it wrong.  Even the experts, those with all the education may not have all the answers.  Even the experts can’t control the uncontrollable like your attitude, perseverance, and spiritual determination to get well.  Even the experts can’t predict with absolute certainty who will cross the finish line to health and healing and who will incur greater challenges.

That’s the funny thing about life; we try so hard to map things, chart things, and account for things and there are just some things that go beyond being boxed into a corner.  In both reality shows the dark horse didn’t simply give up; they went out and left everything they had on that stage.  Why?  Because in that moment it wasn’t about a title, a trophy or a contract, it was about being at peace with themselves.  It was about the self-knowledge and commitment to fulfilling their own beliefs in themselves.  It was about their personal integrity and not wanting to live a life full of regrets.  Do you leave everything you have on the stage of life?  Are you holding back thinking you may need some reserves?  Let me tell you that you will always have enough fight when it’s necessary.

Being the dark horse means that every one around you has to be prepared for surprises.  When you aren’t favored to succeed you have a bit more freedom to create new paths on your journey to wellness.  Being the dark horse doesn’t mean that people have given up on you…they will only give up on you if you give up on you.


I've lived my life in service to others. I'm focused on mental health and how it impacts our relationships, culture, and society. Through creative expression and narrative I believe we can impact change.

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