Grateful for Good Timing

November 27, 2010

The Thanksgiving week forever changed for me in 1997. For, on November 21st of that year, I was driving down the interstate when my front left tire blew sending my van careening across all three lanes of traffic heading my direction, through the median, and into the oncoming traffic. I hit a car, a car hit me, and it about killed me.  The doctors told my family there was no chance that I’d ever make it

I spent the next 13 consecutive months hospitalized, and really the majority of ever year after that in hospitals across the country throughout the next ten years. 2008 was the first year I didn’t stay at least two consecutive months in a hospital bed.

In many ways, this second accident has been more difficult than when I broke my neck. Some may think it impossible to have a paralyzing diving accident surpassed, but where the first accident had an instant totality; the second has had a persistent longevity.

In large part, two years after my diving accident I knew what my life was going to be like. I was back at school full time, driving, with the stamina of my peers. I knew those limitations, and other than a few bladder infections there was a baseline I could count on.

The second time around has been the complete opposite. It’d probably be easier for me to name the bones I didn’t break, than to list the ones I did. It brought with it a chronic pain that for much of the time kept me in a narcotic fog or debilitating pain. It’s been anything but dull though. Oftimes it’s felt as though just as one issue is resolved, another rears its ugly head.

Now, make no mistake, there’s been more joy and happiness in the days since November 21, 1997 than doom and gloom. We even celebrate the day of my accident. It’s an anniversary after all, and anniversaries are made for celebrating. (for more on the second accident and the anniversary tradition, click here.)

That doesn’t mean it hasn’t been hard though. It doesn’t mean that, try as I might, I don’t find myself wondering what might have been. It doesn’t mean I don’t get tired, down, frustrated and depressed. There are days when it takes everything I’ve got to keep on smilin’.

But every time that week in November rolls around, the 21st hits and it gets as difficult as it is at any time in the year, I get a blessing most don’t—Thanksgiving—a day when all you do all day long is think about your blessings. I know a lot about adversity, and there is nothing you can do to light up depression’s darkness than shine bright gratitude upon it. A thankful heart is the antidote to depression’s deadly venomous sting.

For some reason, this 21st was harder than most. I’m not exactly sure why, but my spirits were way down, and my chin was far from up. Things were hard leading up to the day, and for some reason I really got thinking about “Could have been’s,” and, “Why me’s?” (and we all know those don’t ever do anyone any good) and the fact that I wasn’t as vigilant about celebrating my “anniversary” didn’t help at all (see what comes from getting lazy!)

But then, just when things started getting their bleakest, four days later my annual blessing—Thanksgiving.  And ironically, in a year when this day was the most difficult in recent memory, I had more to be thankful about in recent memory.

Here are a few of the gratitudes that topped my list:

My Faith: In a year where I’ve been pushed to the brink, I know that I would have gone over the edge without my faith in God. His words, His Spirit, and His love have helped me get through those un-get-through-able days, and allowed me to find peace in a world swirling all about me. I know God lives and there is nothing in my life I have to be more grateful for than that.

 

My Girl: You don’t have to be around me long, or read much of what I’ve written to expect this one on this list. But this year is different. On the first of June, Ko was hospitalized with acute gall-stone pancreatitis, and on the third at 3:00 am I almost lost her. Just writing those words makes my eyes well up. But, as I think of the courage she’s shown and the valiant way she’s fought every day from that first day to this very day, makes me weep. She’s my best friend, my love, my hero and my inspiration—my everything. I am so grateful she’s still alive, and am blessed to have witnessed and continue to witness her strength and courage.

My Wingman: He’s been with me through it all this year. I don’t know what it is, but he has wisdom beyond his years. He always seems to know the right thing to say, the way to make me smile, or just the right look to lift my heart. I’m never alone with Coleman around. I am grateful for the light he’s been in my life. Just hearing him bust through the door screaming, “Dad!” brings light to my darkest day.

The Chorus:  A chorus by definition is a group of voices that come together. There’s no soloist, in fact, the reason great choruses sound so beautiful is that everyone contributes equally with everything they’ve got. I wouldn’t have made it any day of any year since 1997 without my chorus. But it hasn’t been shown as clearly or exhibited as perfectly in any year since ’97 than this one. The people who have pitched in to help me and mine make it through the hardest days than the support my chorus has provided this year. Many of the faces are ones you’d recognize. Parents (on both sides), brothers and sisters from the same, cousins, friends, and neighbors—they’ve all been there. In hospital rooms, bringing meals, watching Coleman, sharing a kind word, a compliment in person or on the blog have lifted my spirits more than anyone will ever know. I am lucky and grateful to have such people blessing my life.

These big gratitudes have lifted me, obviously through the whole year—but especially through the last few days. One of the things I love about gratitude is that it always makes me feel rich.

With things like this to be grateful for, I dare you to show me a wealthier man in all the world. I’m blessed—In so many ways. Not the least of which is that Thanksgiving is so close to the 21st of November.

I encourage you to partake of some of this “good medicine” for yourselves. Take a moment to leave a comment about something you’re thankful for. Doesn’t have to be a big act or blessing, it’s amazing how sometimes the littlest things bring the most mercy. The more of us that share—the more we each get to think about the great and wonderful in our lives. And the more that attitude of gratitude spreads the more the doom and gloom, the frustration and consternation are chased from our souls letting the light of hope shine bright.

I am grateful for the power of gratitude.

Jh-

PS: in an effort to show my gratitude for your sharing, one person leaving a comment will win a set of my motivational cards,  one of my autographed DVD’s (both seen here) and a $15.00 gift card from Walmart for munchies. ‘Cause what DVD’s not better with a little treat to go with! —Right?

And spread this one around; let’s see how many gratitudes we can come up with. Comments must be entered by Tuesday, November 30, 2010 at 10:00 pm PST.


Be an Enabler + DVD Giveaway

April 17, 2009
There was a little bit of a snafu with the post so I’m extending the giveaway to Wednesday he night 9pm PST. If you list your Enabler before then, you’re in. Good luck!  Jh-
Two Great Enablers.  Florence & Elmer Hall

Two Great Enablers. Florence & Elmer Hall

We so often hear of people who are enablers. They encourage and allow others to continue their lives filled with bad habits. For example, if someone were living with an alcoholic and created an environment where alcohol was easily obtained, or easily accepted the excuses the alcoholic used to drink, that person would be designated an enabler; enabling the alcoholic to continue with their bad habit.

Over and over on the small and large screen and in print we see, hear, and read of enablers. We take note of these people working hard, or completely ignoring poor habits thereby perpetuating those habits or actions that hurt and damage lives.

Because of this new and popular way of utilizing the words enabler and enabling, they’ve taken on a negative connotation. But, it can be a powerful thing to enable. Putting our efforts toward enabling positive and moral actions and values can make a real difference in others lives for good.

The world today so badly needs enablers. It needs people enabling others to set goals and become better. The world needs people enabling positive mental attitudes, and promoting environments where serving others is more accepted and lauded. In these dark times there must be those willing to actively enable good works and moral strength in order to yield lives lived well.

As I look back at my life I know that I’m the person I am today because of the enablers who helped me along the way. In considering the enabling I’ve enjoyed in my life I remember the following people especially:

  • I think of my Grandma & Grandpa Hall who taught me to love others unconditionally and live a life filled with righteousness.
  • I think of my Grandma Ashby who taught me that there is no value in complaining.
  • I think of my parents, the ultimate enablers, who taught me to look for the good in every situation. They taught me the importance of being positive in the face of any adversity.
  • I think of Major Weaver, a scout leader, who taught me the importance of patriotism and love of country.
  • I think of Darren Haskins and Ben Hendry who allowed me to see how far a little kindness could go in a young boy’s life.
  • I think of Dave Checketts who gave me the opportunity to grow through the lives of great young men when most people wondered if I was ready to grow at all.
  • I think of Maren Mouritsen and Tammie Quick who taught me more about listening, leading and doing what’s right than most people ever have a chance to learn.
  • I think of Gary and Judy Coleman who taught me about acceptance because of the environment of acceptance they fostered in their home.
  • And, I think about Kolette whose pure love has allowed me to love more purely.

Although this list is far from complete, these enablers, along with countless others, have made a real, lasting difference in who I am today. I’m frightened to consider who I might have become had I not experienced the environments these people created and the motivation they provided.

We must enable. We must put people in situations where they can succeed. For, often that taste of success can push them forward and create in them a desire for more. We must show people that they can be better than they are, regardless of how good they are already. We must push people to do great things and become great people, and if we have pushed them a little we must push them even more.

In today’s world where people seem lost and character has become a word some can hardly define, positive enabling is the answer. We have to look for ways to further enable others to become the best they can be. Remember those who have enabled you, and take the opportunity to pay their work forward.

There are so many out there waiting to find out who they can become and what they can do. In many cases your enabling will be their answer.

Be an enabler.

Jh-

In order to remind us all of the power of enabling, I am doing a giveaway associated with the enablers. Leave a comment where you name someone who has enabled you to become the good person you are today. The winner gets an autographed copy of my DVD. The contest closes at 9 PM PST Monday, April 20, 2009.


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