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Stand and Deliver

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THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 9, 2010 10:46 AM, CDT

Right Choice #17

Stand and Deliver.

Doctors were divided as to whether I should take on a full time job this fall. I’m still working with several specialists on a few remaining health issues, and so I listened carefully to their recommendations and concerns when I needed to decide whether I should go back to work this fall. An internist who herself had been through major traumatic medical situations, warned of pushing too hard too soon. Our bodies will do whatever we ask of them, she noted. If I asked mine to stand in front of class and teach for four straight hours after commuting to school and attending a faculty meeting, it would deliver. And it would come at a price. “Listen carefully to what your body tells you,” she admonished.

A psychologist I’ve been working with to move past some of the tough emotional issues that are attached to my experience weighed in with other considerations. Too much time to think can be dangerous. Sitting, walking, reading, writing alone each day while the mind still holds on to traumatic images can allow those images to take hold more firmly in the brain’s patterns. Getting back to the classroom might help fill my mind up with new thoughts and ideas, taking the sting out of the painful past.

My family doctors helped me find the tools I need to begin to fully reengage in a healthy, happy life. And so after consideration, and with the help of doctors, therapists and a bit of medicine, I felt like I was ready to return to work full time this fall. It’s been harder than I imagined, but better for me at the same time.

Who knew it required so much energy to simply drive 25 minutes, find a parking spot and walk to an office? For the past fifteen years I’ve never given this part of my working day a single thought. Now I need recovery time before heading into class. Geez. And on Thursdays when I teach an afternoon class and an evening class, well, let me just say that I’m more tired walking to the car at then end of the night than I’ve been when I finished triathlons. And that’s after I’ve taken a nap between classes. Insane.

Yet I’m relieved and pleased that I chose to return to the classroom. The variety of students in my classes this semester is invigorating. Freshmen, juniors and MBAs (don’t worry, they aren’t all in the same class) – each challenge and wake my mind in different ways.

So I wanted to let you know – Mondays through Thursdays you can find me at the college, standing and delivering. Well, sometimes sitting and delivering when I’m feeling tired. But I’m there, continuing on the path of healing. And I am glad that I am there.

And I wanted to let you know also that in two short weeks, we’ll all be flying down to Phillip’s graduation from Air Force Basic Training. Grammie and Papa will meet us there. I bet I’ll be strong enough to carry my own carry-on bags this trip. (BTW – California ended up being a ‘Vicki is a Diva’ trip, flying, not driving – me unable to pick up a single bag…not a bad way to go, I must admit, but something I don’t think my family will allow me to grow accustomed to!)

After Basic graduation Phil will begin the grueling INDOC course October 4th. The INDOC (Indoctrination) course is designed to test the limits of the pre-qualified Airman soldiers, only 30% of those who tried out made it through to INDOC. INDOC then is designed to determine who has what it takes to be trained to be a PJ (ParaRescue Jumper.) There is a 90% washout rate once INDOC starts.

Many of those that quit the course find once training starts that this career just isn’t what they imagined it would be. It is impossible to know until you get there. Others have medical restrictions that preclude them from advancing through the course. Still others are faced with an unfortunate event…an illness or injury out of their control that forces them to leave the course. I’ll keep you posted as Phillip begins this phase of his Air Force commitment. Your prayers and support for his willingness to serve our country are much appreciated, as are your prayers to provide him strength and determination as he enters this most difficult training course.

If you have a chance to watch “Surviving the Cut: Pararescue” (Discovery Channel, or downloadable from iTunes) you will see that my challenge to stand and deliver pales next to Phil’s determination to stand and deliver on behalf of all of us here in theUnited States through his decision to become a PJ.

Thanks as always for taking the time to read the musings of a woman in the final stages of recovery. Your willingness to offer up thoughts and prayers on behalf of the challenges and opportunities our family has faced – some by choice, others thrust upon us – continues to bolster our spirits and encourage our souls. We hope and pray that life is shining kindly upon you.

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About the Author:

Professor and award winning author, world traveler, Mom, thought leader, mentor, friend, and advocate Vicki Whiting, Ph.D. is dedicated to the facilitation of learning and the development of leaders in all walks of life.

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