It took me many tragedies, 5 years on dialysis, two kidney transplants and a myriad of other seemingly overwhelming and unfair obstacles to be thrown in my path to finally utter the words, “I am so grateful for my problems!”
Why would I say such a thing?
Thinking back to when my children were little, they would come to me and as children often do, talk about the “rich” kids in the neighborhood and how they wished we could be rich. I remember well telling them that “everyone has a story” and that just because things look bright and beautiful on the outside that every person, rich or poor, has a story and problems. Being children, this was a difficult concept for them to grasp. “How could they have problems? They can do anything they want, go anywhere they want, buy whatever they want, that would make anyone happy!” they exclaimed. Far too young to be told about the horrors of domestic violence, abuse, addiction and the many other things that are often locked in the darkest closets of the “rich and happy” homes, I merely told them that if people from a neighborhood not nearly as nice as ours were to drive by our home, they might think we were the rich one’s with no problems.
We did have problems. We were financially strapped, my husband was ill and I was soon to go into complete renal failure. They understood that we couldn’t always go to the movies or dine at even moderately priced restaurants because we just didn’t have the money so they were old enough to understand the concept of having to sacrifice some things so that we could enjoy others.
Now they are grown and they understand that the big houses aren’t all full of happy people that never face any difficulties and that no one gets a free ride. Some get a less bumpy one but not a free one.
For a long time, I was bitter and angry about all of my problems. It seemed as though I got my portion and then some, especially where my health was concerned. It was then, in my darkest time of despair and “why me” self-pity that I realized I should be grateful. I should be grateful for every single problem I had because so many people are facing far worse things than I could ever imagine.
If I were to take all that time I spent being so angry and self-consumed and use it to send love, light and healing energy into the Universe for others to grasp, it might just make them grateful for their problems. Maybe that is what happened to me. Maybe the thoughtful and loving people out there that were suffering far worse things than I, were doing exactly that, sending out positivity, strength, compassion and love for people like me to grab onto like a lifeline.
Today, that is what I choose to do when I feel overwhelmed by a sudden catastrophe. Instead of turning it inward, I turn it outward. I reach into the vast Universe and soak up all the kindness, compassion and love like a sponge. When my heart is full, I wring it out, fill it back up and send it back out there for the next empty soul to grasp on to.
My life is a lot better now. My burdens are not so heavy nor is my heart. We are all connected, not just physically but spiritually as well. It is a strong and tangible connection, all you need do is reach out and grab onto it! There is no greater healing power in this world than caring for and helping others in need, sharing love and compassion and truly listening to their story. When we do so, we are laying our burden down so that we may help lift them up. Helping others, no matter how small the gesture, helps us. It is the never ending circle of our connection in this miraculous life we are so blessed to have.
Everyone has a story, the question is….are you listening?
This post was originally published in The Kindness Blog