I am a self-proclaimed eternal optimist. Some might call me delusional if they didn’t know me. Maybe even unrealistic because I see the silver lining before I see the problem. I just do. But that doesn’t mean the reality isn’t there. And the fact is, reality is hard.
It’s hard to lose a loved one too soon.
It’s hard to have your home burn to the ground.
It’s hard to have a miscarriage.
It’s hard to swallow your pride and file for bankruptcy or government aid.
It’s hard to face a scary or potentially fatal illness.
It’s hard to face divorce.
Sometimes it’s simply just hard to face another day.
Reality is hard. There is a lot to worry about. There is a lot of sadness. A lot of pain.
Growing up I learned about the time my Grandfather had Typhoid fever. I remembered hearing almost in passing. “you know Grampa had typhoid fever right? He almost died and it changed his life.” I remember the words, but like so many things as a child they didn’t really hold the weight that they should have.
It wasn’t until I read the latest post on my Dad’s blog that I realized how important this event was for him. And how important it is for me today.
My grandparents were out of town, likely celebrating their 5th anniversary when he contracted typhoid fever. They had no children. He really thought he would die and made peace with that fact. Yet he looked up and out of the window at some flower buds and decided that he wanted to see them bloom.
And he did.
What moved me was not the fact that he lived. Though I wouldn’t be here today if he hadn’t. The thing that struck me about this story was his ability to see beauty in the literal face of death. He didn’t know that he would wake up the next morning. In fact, he was sure that he wouldn’t, yet he chose to see beauty.
As Jerry and I are about to celebrate our 5th anniversary, there is a lot of “reality” to face. We are getting older. We have a lot to deal with. Our friends and family are suffering. We are raising children in the sometimes perilous ‘digital age’. But I’d like to think if I inherited anything from my Grandfather that it was the ability to see beauty. Because there is just too much pain to dwell on it. In the hardest times if I could find one thing of beauty to focus on, I chose that thing. This is what I do. It’s the only way I know how to survive.
Choosing to see the beauty may not change your situation, but I guarantee it will change the way you see yourself within the situation. It’s not about looking at the glass half full. It’s seeing the pain alongside the beauty. It’s accepting both as they are.
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