We gather strength from sadness and from pain. Each time we die we learn to live again. – Author Unknown
Every now and then life’s sting can surprise us. A failed relationship, a financial hardship or an unexpected illness can bring us to our knees. During these difficult times we are left feeling defeated – we are left feeling broken.
But as bittersweet irony would have it, our brokenness can lead us back to hope. Broken clouds give way to the light; the broken earth gives way to an abundant harvest and broken bread gives way to restoring our strength. Often it’s when we hit bottom that we are given the best perspective to see how we can heal, rise up and live again.
My daughter’s illness came unexpectedly, and without warning. After making a surprise visit to Kansas for my 50th birthday, Caitlin returned to Florida the Sunday after my birthday. She became ill that night.
The following Wednesday she was admitted to the hospital. On Thursday she was taken to the Intensive Care Unit. Mary Beth was by our daughter’s side that night. I made it to Miami by Sunday.
10 days after being admitted, Caitlin was discharged. Her prognosis looks promising although she will need to make a few adjustments so her kidneys will continue to function properly; but she is alive.
Four simple words
After leaving the hospital, my wife and I took Caitlin to her condo so she could shower and pack some clothes. We decided it would be best if she stayed with us in our vacation home during her recovery.
As I was going from room to room helping my daughter gather her things, I noticed a framed print on the wall. It pictured a bunch of purple orchids along with this inscription:
Remember four simple words:
A beautiful message, and reminder, that no matter how defeated we may feel at times, when we lean on the hope found in each one of the four simple words we can heal, rise up and live again.
Looking at the print, I wondered how many times Caitlin read this. I’m sure like the inspirational messages I have positioned around me, there were many times when the words went unnoticed. But somewhere along the way the four simple words found their way to my daughter.
It was her will; her strength and her determination that pulled her through. After reading the inscription, I saw my daughter’s remarkable spirit in each word.
What about you?
Are there times when life’s sting is unbearable? Does life bring you to your knees sometimes? Do you ever feel like you don’t have the strength to rise up and live again?
I certainly do.
The next time I feel the sting, I will go back to this time in my family’s history and lean on the hope these four simple words brings.
Live today. Today is about savoring every moment; it’s about appreciating exactly what you have. Today is about owning your life and being excited about what will happen next. Don’t wait until tomorrow to begin living. Live right now.
Love today. Tell or show the people who you truly love and cherish how much you love them. Do so with heart-felt sincerity. Love them as if this were their last day on earth. Don’t wait until tomorrow to begin loving. Love right now.
Laugh today. Our lives can be stressful and complicated at times, but that doesn’t mean laughter can’t fill the gaps in between. Perhaps if we can think of more reasons to laugh, the gaps might become further apart. Don’t wait until tomorrow to begin laughing. Laugh right now.
Bloom today. Open your mind to the possibilities that are waiting. Open your heart to whatever it desires. Open your soul to its purpose. Open up and bloom gloriously today. Don’t wait until tomorrow to begin blooming. Bloom right now.