This morning I woke to a very cool and windy morning, all my plans for summer attire were immediately changed and I donned my faithful old jersey. Outside clouds were gathering on the horizon and I was sure that we would have rain. My morning garden party with my friends will have to be taken indoors. I am sure that the people of the American east coast can testify how a storm can enforce a change of plans, wreak havoc and change lives forever. As it turned out this morning, though, the coolness made way for a mild summer's day, the clouds passed by and we had a lovely time out in the garden of a favourite coffee shop. Storms can suddenly develop, rain can unexpectedly pour down, winds can change direction. So it is in life, too. Things can suddenly happen that impact on our best laid plans and set our lives on a whole new course. It turns our lives upside down, and we can do very little to avert these things. Storm clouds can gather in an instant.
The very thought of this makes my pulse race, and fills me with a sense of dread. When we think of all the possible disasters and mishaps which can befall us, our natural reaction is one of fear. We worry, we fret and we are consumed with a paralysing sense of dreadful expectation. Our thoughts are tainted by it every waking moment and it envelops everything we do in a cloud of depression. Our focus is on all the what ifs and we run all the different scenarios and the terrible consequences through our minds. The worry drains us of all energy and steals our joy. It gets so bad that we start to feel what is the use of it all? Why fight? Why hope? Why live?
The truth is this: Yes, there are a trillion things that CAN go wrong, there are even some things that WILL go wrong. We can make the wrong choices. We can loose our jobs. Sickness, natural disasters and accidents are all possibilities. Heartache, disappointments, divorce are all realities people face daily. Things happen to "good" and "bad" people alike, whether they are Christian, Jewish, Islamic or atheists. Nobody can give us a safeguard, a promise that it cannot happen to us.
However, an even bigger truth is this: No amount of fear or fretting can prevent these things from happening. Worrying is not some or other mantra that can fold a cloak of protection around us. It cannot change anything, it cannot turn the storm away.
The sad thing is that while we worry, fret and fear, we cannot enjoy the precious gift of now, this wonderful moment we have this very minute. This moment does not come again, therefore we must enjoy it fully in all its perfect imperfectness. Do not obscure the sunlight of this moment with the clouds of worry. Fly above the clouds, celebrate your family, your love, your memories, your hard work, your health, even the aches and pains you do have. Rejoice in life!!
I heard somebody today at gym sympathise with a woman about her husband not having found another job yet, she smiled and said, "We are so blessed, we have not one day yet gone to bed hungry or without shelter, life is still good." I felt so small.
A dear friend send me a message yesterday , "The cancer has spread, but I am so grateful, it is still small, I am positive, please be positive with me." I feel so small, but I will be positive with her. Even as she fought her first bout of cancer she carried on reaching out to children, teaching and changing their lives.
These are the people who show us how to fly high above the thunder clouds, up there where the sun is shining. Their focus is not on the looming storm, but on the sun that beckons high above. Their lives are a testimony of these words: "It is not what happens to us that affects our destiny, but our reaction to it". Yes, these are pretty easy words to say, but to live it quite something else, but the truth that these words contain is absolutely profound and life changing.
If the storms seem to close in on you, if you loose your focus and it feels as if worry and fear have you in a strangle hold, suffocating your joy, take out your thankful journal and list everything you have to be thankful for, then put on your wings and fly!
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