Sunshine in the Shadows
In November, we celebrate the blessings we enjoy throughout the year. The Thanksgiving season asks us to take inventory of everything good. But what if you’ve had a tough year as a family? What if you have been touched by health issues, grief or loss? That’s when it gets hard to muster a smile and discover positivity in the face of life’s challenges.
I recently shared this wisdom with my friends on social media.
“Sometimes you feel like you’re being buried, when, you are simply being planted, because this is your season to grow.”
People are incredibly resilient creatures. We were designed to be fighters, and victorious individuals find a way to look at the positives instead of being overcome by negatives. But what does that mean, and what does that look like in everyday life?
Have you lost a friend or family member this year? Your blessing is that you were given that person in your life to love and enjoy, regardless of the length of time you shared with one another, your memories are always accessible.
I have a friend who lost a beloved pet. Since then, she has taken on the role of fostering dogs in need of homes, and has become a pet sitter extraordinaire. As a result, her grief has begun to lift, and she feels like her new role is not only rewarding, but heart-mending. Losing Maxie was the inspiration to share her love with other animals in need—her gift was born of loss.
Have you experienced a health scare? Your gift is modern medicine and the truly miraculous things available regarding treatment and ongoing health management. Perhaps a simple physical brought to light a potentially life-threatening problem in time before it became insurmountable? This was your blessing, it may have been scary, but with this knowledge you can now strategize healing.
A Diabetes diagnosis can be very frightening, but once discovered it can lead to healthier eating and more exercise. I’ve seen entire families rally behind a single diagnosis and make changes together, creating an even tighter bond to meet the challenge head on.
I know a wonderful woman who very rarely sees her grandchild. The situation had become almost unbearable for her until along came a working, single mom in need of babysitting for her beautiful and precocious 4-year-old. The little girl and my friend were a match made in heaven; their paths crossed at a time of mutual need, and their bond has become magical; in this example, the positive universe was certainly at-work!
A divorce or separation is often devastating when it takes place, but I have also witnessed both sides of the equation rise above heartbreak to become better and more engaged parents. Time together with the children becomes more impactful and cherished. Here, amid dramatic change is hope and the reaffirmation of love.
A lost job may lead to self-assessment and enlightenment. The blessing that came disguised as a downsizing, merger or acquisition may lead to something even better. In fact, more than a few people I know have used a layoff or termination to begin following a dormant dream. It’s never too late to become who and what you always wanted to be.
At the end of the day, the brightest sun causes shadows—it’s how we deal with the darkness that makes us stronger people. The ability to “see the bright side” isn’t just a cliché’, it’s one of the most powerful ways to navigate life!
Happy Thanksgiving my friends, embrace your blessings and silver linings!