Lately my life has been more hectic than usual and it doesn’t look to be settling down anytime soon. Higher stress levels always lead to higher pain levels, and I admit I’ve been feeling a bit sorry for myself. However, something happened this week to turn my attitude around. Two good friends got some very bad news: one of them was diagnosed with breast cancer and the other, who has battled cancer through five recurrences, has developed a severe infection and is back in the hospital. I’m so amazed at how they are each handling their devastating news. Both are positive, upbeat, and facing their respective situations with a peacefulness drawn from their faith.
It’s very humbling to listen to them, and I can truly see they are not just putting on a front but honestly feeling the way they say they do. I don’t know if I could be so optimistic in their place. It makes me realize that despite my many health issues and normal everyday problems, my life is filled with myriad blessings and I need to focus on how fortunate I am.
“Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness,
and the word ‘happy’ would lose its meaning
if it were not balanced by sadness.
It is far better to take things as they come along
with patience and equanimity.”
In your life, it may feel like you are buried in total chaos and overwhelming difficulties. However, there are always things to be thankful for, and it can be helpful to stop and really reflect on all the positives around you. You still have to deal with all the difficulties, but they can be faced with a greater sense of acceptance when you realize a myopic view of your life as being “bad” is what’s keeping your glass half empty instead of perceiving it as half full.
Life can be tough but sometimes we are our own worst enemies by allowing fear, stress, worry, anger, negativity, etc. to shut us down. It’s harder to stand up, hold tight to what is important to us, and forge ahead using hope as a shield and wearing our heart on our sleeve. It’s not that we have any more to lose, but revealing our brave hopefulness to everyone - and especially to ourselves - just seems so much scarier.
I greatly admire how my two friends are facing their adversity, and I hope I can learn from their example that reaching toward optimism will help me get through anything. I send my love & prayers to both of them for healing and a quick recovery.