Sarah Lysne: The joy of reframing

Published 6:09 pm Friday, January 21, 2022

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What does “reframing” really mean? To me, it means looking at things in a new light or changing the way you’ve done something before. It could be almost anything, but it involves a change.

A friend of mine called who I hadn’t talked to in a while. I was happy that we could catch up, but after I hung up the phone, I felt some sorrow. This friend would only remember me the way I used to be. Everything that we had in common was no longer a part of my life. This friend of mine and I had done a lot of singing together and that is something I can no longer do. We enjoyed talking about fashion and today I can no longer wear some of my favorite shoes. I feel awkward wearing my tennis shoes with my favorite dresses, so most days I wear workout clothes. All of these things make me somewhat sad when I think about her coming to visit and seeing that some of the things that we had in common we no longer do. I decided to show her all of the painting I was doing because I thought someday, she may enjoy working on these projects with me. I realized the two most important things we still have in common are the love for our families and the love of God.

Another part of my life that had to be reframed was my obsession with keeping things. I kept so many boxes of articles that I thought I would read eventually, but never did. I have many boxes full of paper, and one day my mom asked if she could help me go through them. I finally relented and said “Yes.” It is not something I enjoy because it embarrasses me that I have kept so many papers, but as we went through the folders we started laughing when every folder said “Articles to keep” or “Articles to read” and they never got read. As we worked on a box of papers for an hour, it got easier and easier to throw things away as time went on. I didn’t see myself as such a clutter bug at the end of our tidying up session, but I was adamant about keeping the special papers that were important to me.

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A third thing that I have to reframe is my relationship with my new dog. I had wanted a dog so badly, mostly to keep me company and to comfort me on days that were hard. But, the dog, a 13-year-old Hound, is totally attached to my husband and wants nothing to do with me unless I have a treat for him. I have come to accept that it is nice having a dog in the house, even though he is not really my buddy. He is a good dog for taking walks with my husband and he is a good distraction from my ALS. Even though I don’t interact with him very often, I do enjoy some of his funny quirks.

Reframing is hard. There are some things that we can’t change, but we can be creative in the way that we look at the problem, and creativity often saves the day.