For me...the past 3 months have been a lot about choices. When I went to the conference that inspired The Butterfly Project the theme was "Choose to Become". It is wonderful that in life we have choices. We can choose our thoughts, our actions, our occupation. But we can't choose everything. I would not have chosen to lose my parents this young. I would not choose to live this far away from all of my siblings. Since some of parts of life are not determined by our own choices...when that occurs, the only thing left for us to do is to choose how we will react, how we will cope, how we will live, how we will survive, how we will thrive...We always CHOOSE our attitude. When heartache surfaces as it will for each of us... we grieve. But after the cycle of grief we can choose to remain there or we can choose gratitude. Every day we choose how to handle what is thrown at us.
I have countless examples in my life of great women and men who have turned their grief into monuments of LOVE and GRATITUDE.
The first that comes to mind is a sibling that lost their first and newborn son. The monument of love they have established with the other children born into their beautiful family is nothing short of miraculous. We still (nearly 18 years later) celebrate him. And heartache has been turned into a longing to meet him one day, and a celebration of him, his life, his spirit...and the gift of a body that we each get.
The next thought that comes to mind is my sweet friend. She lost her daughter in a horrible car accident...many years ago. I will not suggest that the road was easy or that she is without grief still. But she has turned her grief into love. She lives an extraodinary life of love and service. She is a light to all that know her. And she looks forward with hope to her reunion with her daughter. I love her and the faith and courage she has displayed made the loss of my parents bearable. And though I may not have handled (nor do I still handle it) with perfect grace, I recognize the gift of my parents because of her example...and her recognition of the gift of time with her daughter.
I literally could share 100 more examples, but time will not permit it as children call...
But my last example has been a tremendous blessing in my life so I will share it. Our wonderful friends have 3 beau'ful daughters and a son. Their second daughter had many struggles that led to her 3rd birthday. They included surgeries, life flights, trauma, courage, hope, faith, and therapy. But finally she was "there" and it seemed at the time, they had finally made it out of the woods. Then in an unexpected event that rocked all of our hearts, in an instance Little Hailey was gone...in her sleep. My heart broke for these dear friends. And with the loss of my own mother fresh in my heart I ached for them. But almost without missing a beat they did not crawl in a hole and die. They did something. They started a wonderful foundation, and they are changing the world. They made a choice. And when they made that choice it didn't mean "we will never hurt, we will never cry, we will never be sad..." But it did mean they wouldn't let Hailey's GLORIOUS light go out, just because her body was laid to rest. I am thankful for them. I am thankful for their example. They praise God for the years, months, moments they have with their precious daughter Hailey. They LIVE every day with their beau'ful family that is still here, still needing their daily attention. And they have CHOSEN to embrace the hope of seeing her again. http://www.aMAYZing.org/
Every day we choose. We make big choices, little choices and in between choices.
Their are people all around us, and many are hurting. They face unseen trials, trauma, sorrow. Those things are often invisible to the n@ked eye. So choose to listen with your heart, choose to reach out, choose to lift, choose to build, choose to make a difference. Because YOU can! Whether you know it yet or not, YOU can make a difference!
Changing the world...ONE letter at a time!