The status-update complaints about colds, headaches, bad weather, or offspring’s skipped naps are suddenly framed as so ridiculous. We sometimes joke about the type of responses I could post, pairing these relatively insignificant adversities against the extreme brutalities of cancer. Wouldn’t that be gracious of me?
At the same time, the reminders that other people’s lives are continuing on as normal can be painful. Wouldn’t we love that the most noteworthy part of our day was the onset of a cold, trying a new restaurant, getting a new washing machine, heading out on a vacation, painting a nursery...
Of course I wish that I were healthy and our lives were progressing as normally as we had planned for them too – like everyone else’s around us. This is a near-constant source of pain for us, as we struggle to maintain our footing in a mountain of upheaval.
But really, whose life ever does progress according to their own plan? Aren’t we all derailed by unmet expectations, disappointments and difficulties?
Some of us are restored by a belief in a God with a master plan for each of our lives. A sense of providence to hold onto within the chaos of reality can be deeply comforting. I wish that peace upon everyone. (Sometimes I’m re-wishing it upon myself.)
Now, I would personally like to think I had reasonably developed attributes without having to get cancer and Spondylitis; couldn’t I instead have been given some smaller challenges… maybe a couple of repeat sinus infections, a challenging boss, a poor investment… more run-of-the-mill stuff to build my character? But then, my entire life course would be different; the person I am to become not achieved… and perhaps, entirely run-of-the-mill.
I am not advocating suffering. I’m only holding out my tweezers in an attempt to pluck some shreds of benefit from what otherwise could be seen as wholly and completely negative.
Happiness demands a good attitude. Some of us, however unintentionally, seek out worry regardless of how much joy and peace could be settling upon our lives. Healthy or unhealthy, I am guilty of getting caught up in my own pain and suffering with a frequency I am ashamed of, but I often need only to remind myself to adjust my attitude in order to calm down - and feel remarkably happier.
Regardless of the size of the adversity - be it a cold, a headache, uncooperating weather, a child not napping, or be it cancer - a grateful heart is an incredible cure for despair.
So, while adversity, sadness and fear have begun to plague me with regularity, I can only respond with focus on my attitude and let happiness follow, when it will.