So I’ve been on the road a lot lately for work, and I’m overcome with gratitude.
I am doing this ambitious, year-long project with a very dear friend, so that makes it fun.
I’m also so grateful that I can even DO this! For so long, it felt like I would NEVER be able to have a normal life and do the things (like work) that I always took for granted before the accident.
I won’t lie and say it’s all easy-peasy lemon squeezy for me on the road, but I’m DOING it. Even more importantly, I’m enjoying it and our project is off to a fantastic start. It’s always nice when that happens and the clients are, in their words, ‘over the moon,’ about how the project is going so far.
In a weird way, I might be most grateful for my near-death experience. The accident was horrible and the long recovery was agonizing. That wasn’t the good part.
The good part…the part I’m so grateful about, are the fruits of the accident. I learned that I am MUCH stronger than I ever imagined and I learned, without a shadow of doubt, that all things are possible with God.
I have overcome injuries that ‘experts’ said I’d never recover from. I have endured pain that I didn’t think I could live through. I have defied all odds and emerged from great hardship with a clear focus on the many blessings that grace my life.
Having experienced all this fundamentally changes my perspective on EVERYTHING! Even the hard parts are a joy because every ounce of life tastes so sweet. It makes it easy to stay on the right side of gratitude and remain constantly aware of what a gift life is.
Through all of this, faith has been my mainstay. I am certain I couldn’t have managed without it. For me, my faith gives me the strength I need, when I need it. It gives me clear perspective always, and it helps me hold onto the idea that, no matter how rough things might be, there is always hope when you open your heart and your life to God. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have been carried through this adversity (and all adversity I’ve ever faced) on the unfailing wings of faith.
One of the gifts of faith for me is the ability to see things that I never noticed before. I notice how many people I meet are fueled by an impervious positive outlook on life. These people are happy, grateful, and they tend to roll with the unexpected bumps that invariably come up during the average workday of my fellow road warriors. Bad weather, cancelled flights, unexpected maintenance…none of that fazes them much.
Watching how these positive people respond to unexpected obstacles in their lives has taught me that, at the end of the day, you take action on the things over which you have control and you accept the things that you have no way of managing. No matter what, you just keep your attitude in the right place, and life remains pretty consistently good, no matter what kind of chaos might be swirling around you.
In stark contrast to the indomitable spirits of these positive souls, I have come in contact with those that are clearly miserable. They are grouchy, rude, and self-important. Whether they realize it or not, these Nasty McNastersons isolate themselves in their dark world of mean and malevolent thoughts, words and deeds. Their negativity just oozes out of every pore making it hard for anyone to come close.
I have come across plenty of these folks in my travels, and I’ve learned to see them through a lens of faith that makes it clear that their unkind behavior is likely to be a symptom of the suffering they are feeling inside. I’ve learned to just maintain my happy countenance, and I have found that the light of my Spirit can sometimes brighten up the dark days of these cranky humans.
Whether a kind word makes any difference to them is not the point.
The point is that I am not letting anything or anyone rob me of my joy. I have worked too hard to get here. I suffered through years of terrible, debilitating pain, and every day for me now is a celebration. Even if I do still have some residual pain, I’m able to function and my appreciation for the simplest things makes life great.
The fascinating thing that I’m finding out is that happiness can be contagious…sometimes. My good mood quite often sparks a smile on the faces of the occasional crabby person I come across.
This revelation helps me connect the dots on a more global scale.
The thought process goes like this…
If I continue to take care of myself, have patience when I can’t zip around as fast as I once did, and just learn to enjoy life, even with the unwanted impediments that I experience, I can continue on my constant road of improvement. My injuries continue to heal, my life continues to get back to ‘normal’ (or my new normal as the case may be), and I’m happy.
When I’m happy, that joy naturally, effortlessly emanates from me to those around me. Because I’m happy, it is easy to be kind, and sometimes, just a kind word is all someone needs to trigger a shift inside of them from grumpy to a little bit glad.
If this pattern continues to extrapolate out, the multiplier effect of joy can, quite literally, change the world.
This is the happiest surprise ever!
I suspect I never would have been able to choose joy despite pain and difficulty, and see its impact, if I hadn’t been through a terrible accident, and a long, slow recovery.
It makes me aware that the hard times bring about the biggest benefits.
If you’re facing challenges now, I hope you’ll feel encouraged to keep soldiering on. The best is yet to come and you’ll discover such a wealth of strength and resilience inside of you in the process of walking through the hard parts.
And as you get to the other side of your hard time, you will feel so proud of your ability to overcome really difficult circumstances. Little by little, the light of your Spirit will gain momentum and carry you through the rough patches.
And if you are blessed by good times right now, please know that just a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, or a shoulder to lean on can make all the difference in the life of someone who might be enduring some dark days.
A little love can change the world.
My prayer is that the love and light you feel in your life overflows to not only lift you up, but also to lift up those around you.
With love and light to you, and everyone I meet, always,