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:
Eternally Faithful to God and Life
Unyielding Positive Spirit
… and my inspiration.