Wednesday, May 16, 2012

"Everybody's Got Something"

After a particularly rough patch in our family life, I adopted the phrase,
"Everybody's got something."

Yup, we are struggling through a financial challenge, but everybody's got something.
Mental illness sucks, but everybody's got something.
Looking for a job is stressful these days, but everybody's got something.
Bronchitis, folliculitis, and exzema make for many trips to CVS, but everybody's got something.

Her husband is distant, unresponsive, and neglectful.
Their children are compulsively obsessed, often depressed, and need much more rest.
My daughter's best friend has cerebral palsy and has spent her entire life in a wheelchair.
The wife of a dear friend has multiple sclerosis and is suffering greatly.
One of my closest friends was diagnosed with breast cancer at the same time that her best friend moved two hours away.
Another is separated from her husband and facing an uncertain future on her own.
Someone wishes she could be at home with her family, but she cannot be.
Another wishes she could leave her family, but has chosen to stay at home and fight the good fight.
A lost pregnancy, a loveless marriage, an absentee father, a suicidal son.
Everybody's got something.

Here's the thing - everybody's got something good too.
Blessings and moments of joy from this very day.
Photos and stories of wonder-filled days gone by.

We have all known love and friendship and peace.
We've all felt the warm arms of a loved one around our necks.
We have shared laughter and secrets and long walks thru fragrant gardens.

We eat food that makes our mouths and our tummies smile, drink good coffee, flavorful teas, ice cold water, and fine wines.
We gaze at art, read poetry, watch movies, and listen to music that remind us that beauty is all around us and also within us.
We know what it is to look deeply into someone's eyes and we know what it is to be seen.

We all have gifts, talents, and strengths to share with those around us.
We have wisdom, knowledge, and grace as well.
Our sense of humor brings smiles to the faces of those we know and love.
We cook. We write. We paint. We make jewelry. We listen. We teach.
We give wise counsel. Our stories are powerful.
We open our homes and our hearts to others.

Our kisses raise goose bumps. Our hugs heal.
Our presence brightens the shadows hanging over the lonely and brings joy to the downcast.
Our generosity eases the worries of the needy.
Our triumphs encourage others and theirs encourage us.
Our prayers change everything.

The young woman with cerebral palsy is a straight A college student.
The friend with breast cancer continues to have the brightest smile and biggest heart of anyone I know.
The one who is making her own way in the world after leaving her husband reminds me that Thelma and Louise laughed their way to the bottom of that cliff - and she and I are laughing our way to wherever we may land.

In the darkest valleys, in the toughest times, in the most desperate of situations, I can always find something for which to give thanks, something that can make me smile again and anew.

Everybody's got something.
Which something am I going to focus on?


Lisa said...

Our 'somethings' are what make up our lives. And I am SO grateful, blessed, and happy to be traveling through mine with YOU by my side, Dear Friend.


GailNHB said...

You are so right, Lisa. The "somethings" are what make up our entire lives.

Unfortunately, I have often thought that "my real life," even my best life isn't made up of this stuff but rather "the perfect moments" are what my life ought to be. I rarely stop to ask myself if I've ever had any perfect moments, any painless moments, any moments in which there is absolutely no shadow.

I just listened to a song, recommended by my friend, Karen, that asks, "what if the blessings of our lives in fact do come through raindrops, tears, pain, and challenges?" (The song is Blessings, by Laura Story. YouTube has several videos of it.)

Perhaps our greatest lessons and blessings and victories come to us through the "somethings" we often wish we could undo. Most of the time when I look back at tough times gone by, I'm glad they happened because of all that I've learned from them. But in the moments of tears and trials, not so much. Not even a little bit.