Sunday, May 4, 2014

Life-Threatening or Life-Changing?

I was recently at lunch with a group of girlfriends.  A newer group of friends, we spent the afternoon excitedly sharing bits and pieces of our life stories.  One friend, talking about her work with families living with autism, shared a sentence that has really stuck with me . . .
The diagnosis is not life-threatening, but it is life-changing.
When my husband first began to experience the chronic pain that now engulfs his body 24 hours a day, we searched for the magic pill, magic injection, magic procedure that would take it away.  On the outside, a majority of aspects of our lives changed - He could no longer work.  I could no longer be a stay-at-home-mom.  We could no longer handle life on our own so we moved closer to family.  I had to learn new things like how to start the lawnmower, put air in my car tires (so silly, but it took me forever to figure that one out!) and throw a pitch.  On the inside, I continued to hold a tight grip to the thought that this would all be over soon and life would return to "normal."   
I kept waiting for life to go back to the way it was - back to the way that I had always dreamed it would be.  That is where I got stuck.
          That is where I got sad.
                    That is where I gained weight.
                              That is where I developed high blood pressure and anxiety.
                                        That is where I missed out on a lot of fun adventures.
                                                  That is where I let go of several friendships.
                                                             That is where I lost out on five years of my life.
                                                                        That is where I got really angry at God.
I had to come to realization that life was never going back to the way it was.  My husband's diagnosis was not life-threatening, but it was life-changing so I was going to have to change.  Why did no one ever mention that to me? 
Hope is important.  I won't lose the hope that someday God will heal my husband 100% - physically and mentally.  But I also can't sit around staring at him waiting for that moment to arrive.  My hope is now firmly placed on the knowledge that God has created me to be a strong intelligent woman who can handle this crazy life that He has designed for me. 
I finally discovered the need to shift my perspective four years ago.  It took time, lots of purposeful practice and encouraging self-talk, but life is now filled with unexpected gifts and adventures that I could never have dreamed up!  I am no longer mourning dreams lost, but celebrating the ones I never knew existed.  (Life is not perfect - I still have plenty of Boo-Hoo Moments, but that is ok.)
There are so many life events that can cause us to get "stuck."  Sometimes we can be stuck for a few days, weeks, months or -like me - years.  In those moments, I encourage you to ask yourself this simple question
Is this situation life-threatening or life-changing?
The answer will shift your perspective and take you in a direction you never dreamed of!

1 comment:

  1. Love this are special beyond words. I am always inspired by you. I hope you see what we see. Love you.