One Hour

Hard times and bad days are a part of everyone’s life. No matter how dedicated we become to having a positive attitude, no matter how much effort we put in to looking at the good in our lives, life is filled with adversity and difficulty. The most positive, optimistic, cup half-full person in the world will have times when the experiences in their life becomes so overwhelming that they can barely put their heads in their hands.

As I travel around the world and have the opportunity to meet thousands of people in thousands of circumstances,  no matter where I go and no matter who I meet, invariably someone asks how I have dealt with the tremendous adversities that have been a part of my life.  the question is usually followed by a story of a substantial struggle or difficulty that has recently been either a part of their life, or the life of someone close to them.

When this question comes, and it does more than any other, I do my best to share some insight that might help them deal with the hardship that is become a part of their life experience. Depending on the adversity and the situation, I will try and find different pieces and parts of my experience to help. But, no matter the adversity or the situation, there is one piece of advice that I always share.

In the days and weeks after I broke my neck my life literally hung in the balance. Even on the good days the doctors were unsure if I was going to make it. One doctor remarked that in his over 20 years as a pulmonologist, I had the worst case of pneumonia he had ever seen. At 15 years of age this was a wake-up call to the fragility and uncertainty of life. At a young age I got the opportunity to gain just a little understanding about the incredible gift that living is.

This realization, as powerful as it was, could not stay the sadness, frustration, and anger that my adversities brought to my everyday.  But, what this understanding did do was help me realize that life was too short to be spent mired in depression. So, I made a decision.

I decided that when the difficulties were too much to bear, I could take one hour. I gave myself one hour to be down, depressed, frustrated and mad. During this hour I could kick, bite, cry, scratch, scream, throw things, sob, or sulk. I could sit in silence. I could talk of giving up, and I could think about how life was unfair.

But, when an hour was over, I had to make sure that the depression, the frustration, the anger, the sorrow, the weeping, the wailing, and the gnashing of teeth had to be over as well.

This little bit of inspiration saved me. It gave me the chance to get out all those feelings of sorrow and ineptitude all the while keeping me from getting caught in that never-ending spiral of depression and gloom. It took discipline to keep it to an hour especially on those really bad days. But, every time I remained dedicated to the ideal I found my life to be better and my prospects brighter.

Life is hard. Everyone knows that personally and intimately. We, all of humanity, deal with difficult, arduous adversities that push us to the very brink, and we need time to express the frustrations that come from our hardships. However, although it is true that life is hard, it is also true that life is short — too short to be spent concentrating on the repugnant and forgetting about the elegant.

At the end of the day. all the anger and frustration in the world won’t change our situation. All the depression and sorrow you can muster won’t chase the adversity from your life. Whether we are happy or sad, we will still have to find our way through the difficulties that are part of everyone’s life.

I know that happy or sad I will still be a quadriplegic. Happy or sad, I will still be unable to move my hands. Happy or sad. I will still be unable to walk, and happy or sad, I will still be in a wheelchair — so I might as well take an hour and enjoy the ride.

Jh-

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3 Responses to One Hour

  1. Jeanne Ann says:

    Whenever I start to become mired down in the messiness of life that makes me feel so bad I stop and revisit your speech at CE and in your DVD. I am trying to make myself learn to deal with those things that bring me down and fight off the depression that has become a part of my life. I cannot rely on medication anymore to make me feel better, I must learn to deal. I find that looking to your words helps me to see things more clearly and I thank you.

  2. Lyn Meeker says:

    Since I went through treatment for Breast Cancer I don’t even allow myself an hour… it’s get over it already! LOL! But I totally get what you are saying!

    And just to remind all the women who read your blog .. it’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month .. if you haven’t had a mammogram in a while … schedule one… they are so EASY now a days. In fact .. I’m headed off to my annual one right now!~ No really … I’m just passing time until it is time to go….

  3. Melissa Cavanaugh says:

    Jason
    Seriously I needed this today! Only this morning it was a half an hour on the phone with my mom… crying in frustration, only too aware that sometimes life seems all uphill, that sometimes I get tired of the battle, which at times seems neverending.

    I picked myself up, dusted myself off, and was ready to face the day… then this at lunch!! Thanks for the constant inspiration, the pep talks, I can so hear you saying the words. And really what is there NOT to be thankful for? I appreciate your blog more than you know… keep up the fantastic work! You totally rock!

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