You know… there are some days when I get caught up being so busy that I (ever so briefly) loose sight of what’s really important to me. Fortunately though, today… at least right now… what’s important to me is crystal clear… it’s my family.
Perhaps I’m just lucky and it’s easier for me than it is for most to bring my attention to what’s important. You see… practitioners of western medicine and statistical evidence point to there being a pretty good chance that we won’t all be together for long. Our daughter Erin had a brain tumor removed a few years ago and since then our family hasn’t had the luxury of living in the narrative that we have “all the time in the world.”
On the one-hand we live in a world where we have an appreciation that each time we say goodbye… it may be the last time we get to say goodbye. Living in a world in which each day together may be our last. Insofar as we can, we struggle daily to ensure that our love and appreciation shines through, whether our last day be today… or 60 years from now. (A Witchdoctor in Africa told me that I was going to live to be 104.)
This morning as I drove into work, I drove past the Hospital where we’ve spent more time and cried more tears at than I care to remember. Today though as I drove by, I realized that I was grateful to be driving by and not sitting inside, watching Erin fight for her life. Grateful that I wasn’t in the midst of the dark days that lie behind us or going through the darker days that quite possibly lie ahead. I realized that I was so grateful for every exhaustingly worrisome, joyful, priceless moment that Erin is still with us. Grateful for and making the most of the time we have together instead of wasting it feeling sorry for ourselves.
Erin is seven years old now. God willing, she’ll turn eight in November. You know what, she inspires me every single day… as she faces each day’s challenges head on without complaint. She’s my daily reminder that adversity doesn’t build character insomuch as it reveals it.
It’s been a tough few years for everyone in my family and I wonder if you’ve discovered through your experiences, as I have through mine… that when the going gets tough, that seems to be when we find out what we’re really made of.
When times are tough we need to remember that we’re the sum of our choices … that we’re exactly who, what and where we choose to be in life.
When times are tough we need to remember to choose to live our lives the way that we want to live them rather than allowing ourselves to become a victim of our circumstances.
So right now, please take a moment. First I’d like for you to sit back and take a deep breath.
Next I’d like for you to ask yourself… given everything that’s happened in your life, everything that’s going on in it at the moment… are you living your life the way that you want to live it? Are you spending your time and focusing your attention on the people and the things that that you care about and that are important to you?
Now ask yourself, what choices do you need to make so that you can live your life the way that you want to live it? What choices do you need to make so that you can spend your time and focus your attention on the people and the things that that you care about and that are important to you?
Once you figure that out and you start to take action that’s when life’s going to get really interesting.
Hey… there will still be times when you’re scared… times when you’ll get frustrated… times when you’ll be filled with doubt and when it’ll seem like you just can’t carry on. When that happens…
- Please stop. Stop whatever it is that you’re doing
- And then take a deep breath
- Once you’ve done that, take a step back and look at your situation as it really is
- Then don’t just sit there thinking about it, do something
Do something that you want to do. Something that will enable you to live your life the way that you want to live it. Why? Because you can… and because there’s a universal truth that I’m reminded of every time I read Winnie the Pooh’s Grand Adventure to my children “You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”