I had lunch today with a friend who has been battling cancer for the last 21 months. I say battling because she has had 4 surgeries, 6 rounds of chemotherapy, a hernia, a colostomy bag, and she has lost her hair twice.
Sounds like a battle doesn't it?
But then something she said to me struck my heart in a way nothing has in a long, long time. She looked at me and said, "I don't think I realized how sick I have been."
Think about what she said to me....she didn't realize how sick she had been. How could she not know how sick she has been? I know how sick she has been...how did she miss it? And then I really heard what she was saying to me....She knows she has been sick, of course she does, but cancer is not what she is focusing on. She is focusing on being well.
And suddenly I was even happier to be having lunch with her than I had been one second before! Right there over a fairly dry chicken breast was a life lesson I so needed to hear. Her philosophy was suddenly so clear to me and felt so right, I was amazed. I don't know if she was even ready for my reaction. I almost yelled, "that is wonderful! you shouldn't think about how sick you have been!! You should be thinking about how well you are going to be!!" There was this clarity of thought I hadn't had before. I already knew it, concentrate on the positive, but I haven't been listening to my better angels... There are enough Dale Carnegie books and witty books of inspirational sayings in my house to start a library. I was looking at a woman who could be giving up.....but she was doing no such thing. Suddenly my own challenge looked very different to me.
My husband and I (and about everyone else in America) have been struggling with starting over, losing all of our retirement and not having any idea which way to go.. My emotions have ranged from angry, frustrated, unhappy, and whining, to just plain ole annoyed....with a huge portion of fear. I have acted as though hard times should somehow skip over me, leaving the challenges for others. Definitely focusing on the sickness and not focusing on getting well. Instead of putting all that energy into building our financial lives back up I chose to spend my time being afraid. Afraid of losing everything, afraid of big debt, afraid of what will I do when this all crashes? If stress will kill you, fear slowly suffocates you.
But thank goodness for some reason I was listening today. And when my dear friend innocently said she didn't realize how sick she had been, she had no idea what a gift she gave to me. Concentrate on getting well, not on being sick. I know we have different problems but they all seem to follow the same pattern. So whatever you are struggling with, concentrate on solving the problem, on being well. Don't dwell on the situation...put all that energy where it will do the most good.
The reason we all have different talents is so we can serve each other, the reason we have different challenges is so we can teach each other. What a great system!!
Lesson learned, now I have to live it.