8 years ago today, my oldest son was born. As with every child born, he changed my life forever. But his birth also changed this week from one of uncertainty to one of joy.
Anniversaries and birthdays are emotional events. The anniversary of the bus accident is always an unknown day for me. Time does heal, but there are always scars, however faded.
When James was born, and for a few years afterwards, my entire focus these few days was on his birthday and that celebration. I never forgot the 24th, but it was overshadowed. Over the past few years while writing the book and since its publication, I relived the story and that night over and over - and it returned to be a part of my daily life…but in a different way.
As I celebrate James’s birthday - with true joy and through the excited eyes of an 8-year-old, it is with pride and honor that I look towards tomorrow. Life is funny, and I have learned to embrace the uncertainty and change. Those are the lessons I have learned from my children. Those are the lessons that have carried me through this January anniversary.
Recently I received an email from the mother of a spinal injury patient. She first contacted me last year around the holidays, and we have kept in touch over the past year. In her most recent email, she asked me to resend the first email I had sent from Christmas Day 2008. Thank goodness for even my limited knowledge of web-based mail, for I did still have last year’s email.
But that started me thinking about the timing of a year - and how fast that year goes for some, yet how long for others. When we only hear from someone every few weeks, or even a few times a year, we do not have a glimpse into their day-to-day lives. For a spinal injury patient, those day-to-day tasks sometimes make the days and years seem longer.
None of us knows what each other lives with on a daily basis: the challenges, the hardships and even the joy. It is a good reminder that while someone might have healed physically, the healing continues in ways we might not see. And this can take years.
For those of you who may be struggling as the new year is underway, I wish you peace and joy through your challenges and hardships.
I recently read a newspaper article that stated that 70% of New Year’s resolutions are broken by the end of January. Interesting.
Maybe we are setting our resolutions too high or being unrealistic. Maybe we need to add “try to” to our resolutions. That way, if we fall short one day, we can “try to” get it done the next day, or the next week.
Some people take New Years Resolutions more seriously than others. But I think there is one thing towards which we can all strive: to be grateful. Even on days when you do not feel as though you have much for which to be thankful, I bet you can find something. Happiness and joy are all around you, in large or small doses, if you choose to see it.
Being grateful may seem like an easy resolution, but let’s give it a try any way. And I bet we’ll last past the end of January!
Before looking ahead to 2010, I have to take a moment to reflect on the many events and opportunities I had in 2009. With a grateful heart I say thank you to everyone who read my book, who invited me to speak, and who listened to me speak (some of you more than once!) I am often thanked for sharing my story; and I always reply that it is my honor to share my story. It may take time away from my family and it may be exhausting at times, but I never think twice about continuing to Share the Inspiration when given the opportunity.
Just yesterday I received two emails that sum up how I feel, and why I do what I do. The first was from someone whom I have never met - a reader who took the time to write to me after he read my book. First of all, without even reading his email, I am touched: touched that he read the book and touched that he would take the time to e-mail me afterwards. In part it reads: I could not put down What Though the Odds. I just want to thank you for sharing your story and turning a negative into a huge positive. I truly believe that’s what God intends for us in our life on earth: Take what you’ve been dealt and make the best hand possible.
The second e-mail I received was from someone whom I respect immensely. It was a forward that read: Blessed are those who can give without remembering and take without forgetting.
As we begin the New Year, I will keep these two thoughts in mind: to continue to make the best of my opportunities and challenges, and to never forget all I have received.
With a grateful heart, I wish you a blessed 2010.