I met a woman today who has terminal cancer, she doesn’t know how long she has but she knows the end is coming sooner rather than later. What was she doing? Was she throwing her very own pity party? No she was out buying some shoes. She said she grew up during the war (WW2) and she only got one pair a year, so she always made sure as an adult to have plenty. She chatted happily about her life, about husband one and husband two, and other things that interested her. She was full of joy and she gave her joy to others. My coworker was waiting on another lady who had a terminal label as well and was given less than ten months but she is still going strong after that time frame, and was happily chatting herself.
This got me to thinking about how our attitudes really do make a big difference. I have always lived by the motto we are either victims or survivors and we choose which. Both these ladies whether they live another twenty years or die tomorrow chose to be survivors in the moments they were given. That isn’t to say they haven’t had their bad days and their share of break downs, but instead of being bitter, hateful, and giving up on their own humanity they have taken a step forward and bring the better parts of life, the finer points, and brighten other people’s days.
I have worked with the public since I was sixteen, in that time I have met many people, some were Betty Beautifuls and others were Debby Downers. We all know both types of people and usually D.D.s have convinced themselves that the world is so out to get them that if they let anyone else around them have a moment of joy that the world will surely come crashing to a fire filled end. Over the years it is the Debby Downers that I wait on that leave me feeling drained and trying to make sure that I don’t become that person as I get older. Today my sweet lady who I hope has many more years with us, or at least the time she has is filled with as much beauty as she has determined to bring to the world, reminded me of so many others I have waited on over the years, who despite their circumstances being less than perfect have chosen to keep going and do so brilliantly.
The people who keep going and bring a type of hope with them, that they don’t intend to, and I’d bet they don’t even realize they are doing anything of the sort, those are the people who are my heroes. Not because they have faced so much, but because they have faced so much and can still find joy. It maybe something as small as finding painted rocks (the latest craze seems like) or as big as climbing mountains, but they won’t let bitterness over take them. They inspire others to keep going even when it gets hard. This is the type of person I want to be, and I am going to make an effort to try to show the world my joy as well. That doesn’t mean I won’t have bad days, but it does mean I won’t bring others down with me when my day is bad.