I know several people who have had horrific things happen to them; they’ve gone to hell and back. You wouldn’t know it if you met them. They don’t dwell in the past or wallow in their sorrow. They simply live their life without excuses; without complaint. They have a grit and determination that leaves me in awe of them.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve had my share of shit to shovel. However, in comparison, these individuals have fought cancer, buried a child or had the unimaginable happen to them for no good reason and yet they still smile, go about the business of living and make the world is a little bit more beautiful because they’re in it. They are my heroes.
I look to them as role models because they motivate me to think less about myself, keep my own issues in check and offer perspective when difficulties arise. Lately I feel bombarded by people who have perfected selfishness, laziness and indifference. Everything is all about their issues, what the world owes them and they never stop and think about how they can make the world a better place. Their lives stand in stark contrast to my heroes who go for regular chemotherapy treatments but still take the time to say, “How are you?” Amazing individuals who get out of bed and go to work every day despite their sad circumstances. These life-warriors serve their community tirelessly, always showing up for (and often running) events that benefit others. They refuse to give up and give in.
I don’t believe it’s our place to judge others. I’m certainly not perfect and won’t pretend to be. I know life is hard. Jobs are lost and dreams are dashed. Things don’t work out the way we planned. Marriages fail. Careers don’t last. Good health is fleeting. I just don’t understand why disappointment has become a disability. Help extended as an offer of support is met with expectation. Humble work awaits but pride gets in the way of a paycheck. “It takes a village” becomes “it’s not my problem”. “Woe is me” has become a crippling self-fulfilling prophecy.
The bottom line is this: life is going to give you lemons. It’s guaranteed. I’m pretty sure your mother probably told you this along the way. Don’t let the tartness of the lemons sour your outlook on life. When adversity strikes, don’t let it draw you inward and make you resentful. Stop asking, “why me?” With the right attitude, adversity can make you stronger, more appreciative of all the good things in your life and humbled to help others. My heroes have shown me that attitude is a choice. I’ve watched them rise up instead of laying down. When they suffered a loss, they focused at what they had left. When a door closed, they choose another path. When their time was idle, they found a way to put it to good use.
So, when the shit flies (and it will…it always does…just ask your mom), you can cover up and hide under the blanket or choose to tie that blanket around your neck and soar above it all.