When Life Rains Boulders

by Aileen

If it wasn’t for rain there wouldn’t be rainbows. We’ve all heard that right? But what about when it rains boulders?

When life smacks you down so hard, so fast, you feel stuck under a boulder with only more coming down.

Pretty hard to think about rainbows then!

But one amazing man, who’s been under one of those boulders, continues to amaze and inspire me as he is able to keep his spirits in a consistently strong positive place. He has an unwavering positive perception, and has held on to it for what felt like an eternity on my side watching from a distance.

His words and his reality blow my mind. His mindset reminds me how far I need to grow in terms of mental discipline and deep rooted optimism.

I have tried to write this and share it with you over last several weeks, but each time it fails to convey the power, yet I cannot stop feeling the need to share the inspiration of his story.

For many of us, we may “know” life is cyclical, but experiencing it is another thing all together, right? When life rains boulders, many of us have a hard time seeing the positive and living in the faith that the upside is coming. What we thought we “knew” becomes hidden and lost under blankets of doubt and despair, by the reality we experience.

So here’s a snippet of his story:

After about five years, this man asks the love of his life to marry him. She says yes! They hardly have a moment to share the news, before suddenly he’s in the hospital. At first it seems like it’s something small and easily fixable. But then… a turn. Test results are turning out strange. Things are becoming less and less normal very quickly, and no one knows what’s happening.

More tests, days pass, more tests… and…

It goes from strange, to worse, to bad, to OMG really freaking bad!

We learn that he’ll be in the hospital for a month, and at best he’ll have a month or more of recovery if all goes well. It seems like the team of doctors are playing a guessing game. Then they say they’ll need to drill through his brain and are concerned about infections. I hold my breath, and wait, and pray.

On the one hand I want to congratulate his fiancé on their engagement, since it’s been only 24 hours or so since he asked, and she said “yes”…but how can I? At this moment. It just feels so wrong.

Over a week later, I finally have the chance to speak with him.  He’s stuck lying down in a hospital bed with tubes coming out of his body. He can’t even sit up. He can just lie there, in an incredible amount of pain that most of us could never fathom. He’s on intense amount of medication, so when we speak he talks slow and it takes a lot out of him. But here’s the magic:

“Ya know Aileen, I’ve been thinking about my wedding.”

At this moment I do my best not to burst into tears.

I say, “Really? …what are you thinking?”

He said, “well you know, I’m stuck here and I can’t do anything. I don’t want to think about the amount of money I’m losing in lost work or how much this is going to cost me, or anything else – and so I’ve been wedding planning.”

At this moment, I can’t stop smiling!

He sounds like an exhausted, intoxicated person. His voice is smiling. I can feel his joy.

He goes on to share his wedding plans, all the way down to unique ideas for cake toppers that he asks me to look for. He goes into song choices, after party, and numerous lovely details including the getaway car.

At this moment I have so many emotions flying through me. Trying so hard not to cry, I am stunned at his response to his current life situation/reality. He’s able to connect with thoughts and feelings of bliss, joy, happiness. In this situation!?!

Situations far, far, smaller have had me in a tailspin of negativity and hopelessness.

But, to experience a person choosing true happiness when his life is dramatically compromised and a team of doctors are trying to figure out a solution – HOLY CRAZYNESS! To witness this, wakes me up inside.

What I once believed about my own faith and inner strength are challenged. I have my own battles that I’m wrestling with and they seem so small. Where is my faith in my own life, as I witness his unyielding faith and mental discipline?

About ten days later and several surgeries later, I get to speak with him again. Feeling hesitant to ask, but wanting to know… How do you stay positive? How do you keep your mind on your wedding plans and not fall into depression and anger?

I hesitate to ask, in-case this question would start a downward spiral.

I change the question to  – “How do you stay so positive? Is it natural, or is it effort?”

He responds very simply, “ya know, I just don’t know any other way.”
(I’ll Paraphrase here – he continued…) Shortly before I came into the hospital I found out my book keeper made a mistake and I owe a ton in taxes. At first I was incredibly angry. Then my mind switched and I thought Wow I must have had a really great year last year in order to owe that much in taxes. If I stay on track this year, I’ll make that much again.
“I want to feel good so I change the way I look at things.”

Now Wayne Dyer can say it endlessly “Change the way you look at things and things you look at change,” but when this man says it – and in this situation… it gets very real very fast! It’s one thing to say that and believe it when life hasn’t knocked the breath and stuffing out of you, but to say it, and believe it, and live it when your smacked down hard by this type of life boulder? Well, that’s just totally different.

This amazing man happens to be self-employed and this happens to be his busiest time of year. Instead of focusing on the money lost, how he’ll handle his clients, the money to be owed in medical bills, and the added tax bill… his thoughts are on how awesome his colleagues are. He counts his blessings out loud listing off how lucky he is that he was able to get his clients taken care of by his colleagues, and how his fiancé was able to handle phone calls, since there was no way he could talk on the phone or handle any business at this time. Yes, at this time he was truly counting his blessings and feeling so deeply blessed and lucky!

I hope I can one day master my own mind to such a degree that I can live in a space of focusing my thoughts, emotions, and energy on bliss.  Not just some of the time, but all of the time and especially when it’s raining drops of water, but I’m reacting as though it’s raining boulders.

To experience someone focusing on joy when his life situation is so frightening and extreme, is mind-blowing!

I hope you and I are able to take a healthy dose of encouragement and inspiration that no matter what our life situation is, we truly can guide our thoughts and emotions. We may not like our life situation, it may feel overwhelming, but this man lying in his hospital bed with tubes and things connecting his body to equipment, unable to even sit up, if he can focus on his love and their wedding, we can see clearly that we don’t have to “embrace” or like our situation, but we can choose where we focus our thoughts and allow our emotions to follow.

Several weeks have passed, and now he’s home recovering. Having spent a month lying down in a hospital bed, and undergoing endless tests, poking, prodding and surgeries he’s finally home with his love, and his dog.

In just a few short weeks of being home he’s been able to get most of his vision back, a lot of his balance back, he’s been able to blow past the walker move on to walking sticks. He’s now blown past those and for the first time in about two months he’s finally been able to go outside and take a walk with just his own body.

He’s still got a long healing road ahead, but he’s come so far nothing will stop him. He is:

Unbeatable!

Unstoppable!

Eternally Faithful to God and Life

Unyielding Positive Spirit

Unwavering Optimism

 

… and my inspiration.

 

 

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{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Cilly October 8, 2012

MyHero <3
Cilly´s last [type] ..Self-Discovery

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Aileen October 8, 2012

What do you think Cilly. should we get him a super hero cape for Christmas? :)

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Betsy/Zen Mama October 8, 2012

Aileen,
Today I found out that someone close to me has had her cancer return. She has a new love, a new house and life is going so well and then BAM the boulder has hit.
So reading your story has given me much inspiration for my friend.
Thank you!
xoxo
Betsy
Betsy/Zen Mama´s last [type] ..Zucchini Soup (and more) – A Delicious, Easy Zen Meal

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Aileen October 8, 2012

Betsy, I will keep your friend in my prayers for her total wellness, health and complete recovery.

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Vishnu October 8, 2012

Thanks for sharing Aileen. One’s ability to overcome such big challenges help puts our own boulders and issues in perspective. If you’re able to succeed and thrive under these circumstances you describe, the rest of us should be able to do the same without as many challenges in our lives. So many lessons here; persistence, determination, motivation, overcoming obstacles, looking for the best in every situation! This guy is definitely unstoppable!

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Aileen October 8, 2012

I’m going to share your words with him :)

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Fran Sorin October 9, 2012

Aileen-
No words can express my reactions to this story. It is rare to meet an individual whose faith is infallible regardless of whatever obstacles he is encountering. Thank you for sharing it. Fran
Fran Sorin´s last [type] ..What The Creative Process Is Of A Talented Illustrator In The Redesign Of The Blog – Gardening Gone Wild

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Aileen October 9, 2012

It really is rare – I see positive people loose their optimism and faith often when things hit hard. I work towards being consistently more positive, but I fall down sometimes too. So to witness his positive resolve was massive inspiration and showed me what faith really looks like.

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Louise October 9, 2012

SO BEAUTIFUL AS IS YOUR TALENT FOR SHARING.

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Aileen October 9, 2012

Thank you :)

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David Stevens October 9, 2012

Tremendous capture of words Aileen and the imagery you created with this.
be good to yourself
David
David Stevens´s last [type] ..What are your Theories on Life? Here’s One …but it’s gone up in a puff of smoke

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Aileen October 9, 2012

Thank you David :)

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Cathy | Treatment Talk October 9, 2012

Hi Aileen,

What a powerful story and what amazing strength your friend had.

I’m glad he is on the mend. This kind of thing is always so challenging and rocks us to our core. Hope he continues to improve. Take care.
Cathy | Treatment Talk´s last [type] ..Treatment Talk Monthly Message – September 2012

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Victor October 9, 2012

Aileen,

Wow, what a wonderful and inspirational story! It really does shed light on how we do have a choice in what we can make out of a situation. Some people can focus on the negative and all the things that are wrong, and we can get angry about it, or, we can focus on the positive aspects and be inspired, hopeful, positive, and motivated. What a great message. Thank you for sharing! :)
Victor´s last [type] ..Article: Brain Judges Actions of People We Dislike Differently | VictorSchueller.com

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Aileen October 9, 2012

It’s truly a different ball game when one is focused on the positive, and all that is right while living in a situation that is filled with all kinds of wrong. He’s truly a master of his mind, and his reality. He gives me clarity on what to aim for.

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Jodi Chapman October 10, 2012

This is so beautiful, Aileen. It truly puts everything into perspective and reminds us of what is important. I’m so glad he’s back home and getting stronger every day! Sending love.
Jodi Chapman´s last [type] ..Embracing the Not-So-Sweet Changes

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Aileen October 11, 2012

Thank you Jodi :)

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Kim October 10, 2012

It’s one thing to talk about looking on the sunny side of life, it’s quite another to actually live it. Thanks for sharing such an inspiring story of a person who is living it, and for showing what a difference it makes in their lives and in the lives of others.

I found you via The High Calling.
Kim´s last [type] ..What Ricochet the Dog teaches us about parenting

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Aileen October 11, 2012

Hi Kim, thanks for stopping by.
Yes, it is quite another thing to actually live the principles we speak about. It’s invigorating to witness it and experience it.

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Elle, Motivational Blogger October 10, 2012

Wow Aileen, this is someone who walks the walk. Knowing it and then doing it are entirely separate experiences and it’s the deliberate use of the laws of consciousness that move us into greater and higher states of mind so we can see our life unfolding as beautifully as your friend has decided his will.

This is power and love in action and I for one am in awe. His story is inspiring, encouraging and filled with hope for others. Thanks for sharing Aileen.

Love Elle
xoxo
Elle, Motivational Blogger´s last [type] ..An Easy Path To Great Results.

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Aileen October 11, 2012

Thank you Elle :)

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Vidya Sury October 10, 2012

There’s nothing like real life inspiration, Aileen. I am so glad he’s recovering – Hugs!

Years ago, my brother-in-law was in an accident – crushed under a truck. As luck would have it, the truck driver actually stopped and was decent enough to call an ambulance. They believed him dead. But he wasn’t. The good folks at the hospital dutifully admitted him – and hours later, said they had no hope he would live. Later, when visitors were allowed, he was still unconscious – and mummified – just like those funny scenes we see in hospital cartoons. Eventually, they miraculously brought him back to life, and the moment he was conscious, he flirted with the nurses. Gave the family an amazing scare. He’s fine today, with a family of his own – but this incident is always there to remind us about how fragile life is, but how we can make it beautiful by believing – and thinking positive. My husband still has nightmares about it. Whew!

God bless – he’ll be in my prayers from now on. Do invite us for the wedding! :D Hugs.

Love, Vidya

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Aileen October 11, 2012

Vidya, thank you for sharing the story of your brother-in-law. That is miraculous.

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Tess The Bold Life October 10, 2012

Aileen,
What a story. Thanks so much for sharing it. What a beautiful soul and an amazing teacher. xo

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Galen Pearl October 12, 2012

My family was dealt a blow today and this is exactly what I needed to read! Thank you. And blessing to him for being such a light in this world. And to you for sharing the light.
Galen Pearl´s last [type] ..One Story — Many Lessons

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Joshua Tilghman October 15, 2012

What an incredible story! I needed to hear this tonight. In fact, I bet we all did. Not just because we may be having a bad day, but to prepare is for our entire future. If only we can learn this lesson.

Thanks for posting.
Joshua Tilghman´s last [type] ..Why The Bible Should Not Be Taken Literally: It’s All About The Ego!

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Pat October 16, 2012

Thank you Aileen for sharing your friend’s wonderful, inspiring story. It gives me hope and another reminder on how fragile and resilient life is as the same time. We’ve been given the precious gift of life and your friend’s courage demonstrates the power of love and miracle of positive energies.

I’m glad he’s recovering well and surrounded with the love of his life and people and colleagues that care.
Pat´s last [type] ..Telling Stories – Holding Onto Memories

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Evelyn Lim October 18, 2012

Oh wow….!!!! A truly amazing story. How inspiring! There is a lot that I can learn from your friend too. Your story has given me much food for thought.

Thank you, Aileen, for sharing it and being the light that you are :-)
Evelyn Lim´s last [type] ..How the Discipline of Simplicity Can Change Your Life

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Arvind Devalia October 21, 2012

Aileen, a wonderful story, beautifully told!

Suddenly my challenges with a hacked blog seems so minuscule:-)

Thanks for sharing and inspiring me…
Arvind Devalia´s last [type] ..The Zen Mantra for Coping with Pain – “This Too Will Pass!”

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