Several weeks ago, a five-pound hand weight fell on my foot, breaking my toe. Following the wave of nausea that rolled through me as the weight made contact with my toe, and the prolific swearing which included taking the Lord’s name in vain more than once, my first coherent thought was, “Wow! I’m surely glad it wasn’t the eight-pound weight that fell!” In other words, In other words, my glasses are most assuredly rose-colored. I am a hopeless optimist. This has always been my nature; however, nurturing my optimism and humor has served me well, as many of my beliefs and values have been shaped by a lifetime of chronic mental illness.
I believe and rejoice in the inevitability of change. During bouts of severe clinical depression, the assurance that things will indeed change has literally stood between me and suicide. In 2004, I lost virtually everything I believed to be essential to my happiness and well-being – my career, my home, my car, my independence, my sanity. Yet in a mere three and a half years, despite all I lost, I am a content person, living a joyful, albeit more simple life. Although I try not to spend a lot of time dwelling on it, I harbor no illusions about my health and what the future might bring. So I do feel a greater sense of urgency to appreciate fully what I am and have this very day.
One of my favorite words is “revel.” The definition of “revel” is to take great delight in something. I believe I am both obliged and fortunate to revel in every waking moment – even, or maybe especially the most mundane. Deliberate revelry — it’s a wonderful way to live. I know.
I believe in the power of kindness and love, received and given. I see kindness as a learned skill, one that requires continual practice and effort. And I believe that love is less about what one feels than about what one does. Kindness and love have the power to connect strangers, friends, and sometimes even enemies. Likewise, my profound sense of gratitude connects me to other people, to the world, to God. I place a high value on the power of gratitude. I truly believe it is impossible to feel gratitude and aloneness at the same time.
At this point in my life, there are few things of which I am certain, except that change WILL happen. I find this both liberating and exhilarating. Having questions, in my opinion, is far more interesting and exciting that knowing all the answers. Uncertainty implies possibilities. And most often, I believe in the best of them.
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