I have a very close friend whose daughter had a series of horrible tragedies in her life. I asked my friend how she was doing and she answered, “She is putting one foot in front of the other.”
I later looked up this quote, which is by George Lucas. What he said was “You simply have to put one foot in front of the other and keep going. Put blinders on and plow right ahead.”
That quote really resonated with me. In times of tragedy, this is the only way to move ahead. However, it can work with everyday problems too.
I had a particularly rough week of chemo. I started out with the flu on the first day and then four days of the chemo after that. I was absolutely exhausted. My fourth and last day I had the chemo, went to lunch, saw my audiologist, and came home and collapsed. I was too tired to get out of bed, to eat, to do anything. But I had to go to the grocery and get some food in the house. Plus, I was making some desserts for a church luncheon the next day.
It was a cold and wintery day in Northeast Ohio and I literally groaned. How was I going to ever climb out of my bed and my warm electric blanket and go to the store? Then, I remembered this quote. What I had to do was to get up first, then get dressed. I had to put on my jeans, then my top, then my coat and then my boots. One foot in front of the other. One foot in front of the other.
By making this my mantra, I was able to do it. I had been thinking way ahead. It was just so overwhelming to think about how I had to go to the car, drive to the store, collect my groceries, put them in the car, come home, park the car, lug the bags up the steps and put them away. Then prepare something to eat and make the recipes.
All the way to the store, I kept thinking about one task at a time. I marched through the grocery store muttering to myself, ”Put one foot in front of the other.” This method worked for me when I accomplished each task before hitting the bed.
The following day, I was still exhausted. I came home from lunch with a friend and again fell into bed. I awoke 3 hours later and remembered that I had a dishwasher to unload and a mountain of laundry to do. Now, this doesn’t sound like much at all if you are not sick. However, when you are trying to recover from chemo, it is overwhelming.
Again, I lay in bed and reminded myself to put one foot in front of the other. Put each dish away one by one. Go to the laundry room and move my clothes from the hamper to the washer. Then, pour the detergent in the washer, then the softener. Anyway, you get my point...
So much of surviving any illness (and many other events in our lives) is to go on by taking tiny incremental steps.We don’t need to move mountains, build a house or even clean out every closet in one day. Sometimes we just have to clean one shelf at a time, put one foot in front of the other and remind ourselves that is enough for today.