Some things don’t have a silver lining. Losing my sister-in-law last month was one of those things. Losing another beloved family member this month is another one. Having a personal health crisis this month was yet another example. Sometimes bad things happen, and the only way to get through them is simply to get through them, pain and all.
What I’ve found in my short years here on earth is that bad things sometimes happen, and they happen when we don’t expect them to, and they can quite literally change the way we view the world.
I’m getting older, so it’s happened quite a few time to me over the years. It happened when I found out my boyfriend was a con artist, for example. And on September 11th. And a few weeks ago when I found a lump in my breast (thankfully, benign). These events weren’t good events, and I’m not trying to sugar coat them, though I have found them to be an opportunity to truly appreciate what matters most.
For me, when disaster strikes, I’ve found that something interesting happens. It’s as if my giant world is suddenly reduced to one single, small window. Through it, I can see everything that actually matters at that given time. There is too much “stuff” going on to handle it all at once, so I believe the universe only gives me this small window to look through, so I can move forward.
When I looked through my small window last month after our family’s loss, I saw very simple things. I saw my dear, sweet, genuine and humble husband, and I was filled with such love and gratitude that it left me speechless. I saw our two beautiful little boys. I saw my mom, my dad and the brothers that I love more than words can significantly express. I saw my extended family and realized that calling someone an “in-law” doesn’t do justice to truth of the relationship. I saw the friends that have crawled into my heart and etched themselves permanently.
I also saw myself. In a moment of crisis, I saw that I mattered. I saw my worth, my life, my happiness and my imperfections, all there and all important.
You know what I didn’t see? I didn’t see my messy house. I didn’t see my shopping list or budget woes. I didn’t see politics or pettiness, jealousy or bitterness, regrets, fears or insecurities. I didn’t have the strength to focus on my weaknesses or imagined lacks. The little stressors in my life didn’t even register. Things that I thought were big turned out to be insignificant indeed.
We don’t know when disaster will strike us, but we can all remember the lessons we learn in those dark moments.
It got me thinking and questioning. What can we do to remember those things on the sunnier days? How can we keep what matters most at the forefront of our lives?
When disaster strikes in your life, what’s in your window?
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