Why…


When we have something traumatic rock our the world as we knew it, we always ask “why?” God must have had a good reason to allow this happen to His beloved child. (Take it from an expert,) our Heavenly Father does inexplicably know us down to every molecule. He is not punishing us with our hardships. There is consistently a lesson to be learned, a blessing to find, a soul to be changed. It is exactly like the refinery’s fire. I feel I was given this trial to help me and others grow in compassion and appreciation. I reckon back to that song. “Each Life That Touches Ours For Good.” (Google it.) The thought that this happened to me to benefit other people (aside from what I’ve learned) helps me accept it more easily. I have witnessed the changes in my family already!

The other day I watched the movie “Stronger,” the story of the man who lost both of his legs in the Boston Marathon bombings. (Coincidently it was on the anniversary of the actual bombing, not planned, just happened!) I wanted to see it, because it was a movie about a guy in a wheelchair. I was personally interested. But I got much more from it than I expected!


The movie portrayed his daily struggles, and his yearning to accept it. (I can totally relate!) Many people attempted to make him the personified symbol for the “Boston Strong” mentality. He fought it. He did not want to be the bombing mascot. Until he met the man who helped him to the hospital right after the life-altering incident. This man expressed his desire to help since was unable help his soldier brother when he died on the battlefield. He also expressed the need to witness this man succeed, and his continued inspiration through his positive die-hard attitude. This encounter changed his mission in life, and he embraced the thought of being a motivation to others. (Kapow! Uh, was this movie trying to talk to me?) I need to “forget myself and get to work.”

When I was laying in the hospital right after the stroke, I remember waking many times briefly and thinking, “My family is growing closer. This is a growing experience for them.” What I wasn’t aware of was that I would affect many more. All those who so generously helped our family, people who knew me before and heard the news, new friends I have made along the way, and blog readers who share a chunk of my brain now and then. All those in the realm of my existence (within my six degrees of separation, by definition, everyone) have been effected by my experiences. Therefore, I must be a example of positivity and one who notices and gives appreciation for the blessings that might be difficult to see. 

I recently had my first speaking engagement for a church group. I was very anxious about it. I sat on the fence regarding the results. In my high school years, I was a debater and was pretty comfortable speaking publicly. But post-stroke, I don’t enjoy speaking in front of groups due to the thought of being stared upon and the speech impediment I deal with. My husband and a friend plotted at convincing me to speak. I insisted my husband sit next to me, and we planned that he would grab the baton (or microphone) if (when) I break down with emotion. After about thirty seconds, I did lose emotional control, and he took over. This actually worked out fine since he shared the part when I wasn’t really cognizant. Then I started feeling more comfortable, but I had to figuratively wrestle him to get the baton back. (He enjoyed speaking whether or not he would admit it!) I started talking so much, I found myself running out of breath and began feeling exhausted. (It. Can. Be. Difficult. To. Speak. Without. A. Break.) It ended up being exhilarating. I greeted a line of people after, they shared many compliments (which always makes me uncomfortable), they shared their similar experiences, and they had many questions. (I learned quickly what I should’ve talked about in front of the group!) Many attendees departed uplifted and motivated. (I just told my story. Who knew?)

I have learned that my new calling is to remind people of what is truly important. It is imperative I be a positive example. (No pressure and no highway option! Meaning, I can’t escape.) My hope is that I can do what the Lord has in mind for me!

Compassion

What do you think of when you hear the word “compassion?” (I used to think, oh, poor homeless people, or oh, that sad unfortunate person, I feel ya.) There’s fake compassion exhibited in word or verbosity to only make yourself look highfaluting and pretentious, or there’s true compassion portrayed in deed, when you genuinely serve in reaction to how you feel for the other or heartfelt empathy. The stroke (I had) has really taught me and my family true compassion. 

Our daughter has recently taken compassion to a new level. (If you know my daughters, I’ll bet you can guess which one!) She told me very matter-of-factly what happened in her class the other day.  She described how a handicapped kid in a wheelchair entered as a new student. The teacher proceeded with the awkward introductions to the class and asked who he could sit by. There were no offers. (Cricket sounds.) My daughter, one of the more popular girls, was sitting on the isle with an empty seat to her other side. Since she’s quite a caring thinker, she quickly moved over while offering the space and her friendship. She speedily became his friend while showing understanding and kindness. She told me, “I knew what he was going through, because of you and what we’ve been through. Before, I wouldn’t of thought to help him. I would’ve just continued on, not thinking about it.” (Proud momma moment.) She also told me he was a really good artist. (Which showed she was looking for the good.)

Our knowledge of where each location and amount of handicap parking places has become quite extensive. I have to laugh when my children (and husband) complain about use of the spots that are taken unnecessarily. But, I must remind them, some handicaps aren’t as outright noticeable as mine. (Whoa, get out of the way when they see a car parked in a handicap stall with no sticker! Oh, the anger!) 

When people go far out of their way to help me through a door or successfully navigate a small space, I appreciate them and their parents. (They were taught well.)

Now, I didn’t write this to brag, (well maybe, a little) but to show that even though I have endured a great hardship – positive things have resulted

Maybe, it was required in the big scheme of things that this happen to teach me and all who know my story – compassion, patience and faith. 

The ultimate way I have learned compassion is through the many earth angels who have shown their genuine feelings through their self-less acts of love. I have learned patience not only by my endless tests of (literal) long-suffering, but by the patience I have witnessed in others as they have helped me with daily tasks. And lastly, my faith has been strengthened by witnessing the faith and prayers by others on my behalf. (A huge thank-you to all that fit in those categories!)

Lucky Blessing #31 – Compassion

Lucky Blessing Challenge #31- The Last Lucky Blessing is Compassion. 

I think back on the last seven months since my stroke, and I get overwhelmed at the outpouring of love and compassion given in my name! (Don’t get me started…) I think of paying all the service forward (I have a lot of work to do! I better get off my rear, and get busy!) So many acts of selfless, charitable service. Some service was small and personally touching, (your comments mean a lot to me!) and other gifts were unbelievable massive! (Wow!) How do I possibly give thanks? President Monson once spoke about compassion (It was really insightful.) He said, “We have no way of knowing when our privilege to extend a helping hand will unfold before us.” Some angels are always willing and able to brighten another’s day. My favorite Bible story is a parable Jesus shared. It was about a man who was badly beaten (sound familiar?) and was passed up on the side of the road. Then the third man (who was from a unpopular culture) helps him way beyond what was asked of him. Jesus said, “Do likewise my friend.” (One of my favorite songs, look it up.) There have been many beyond count who were good samaritans to me and my family. Why? Because they had true compassion. Certain members of my family and special friends were faithfully by my side through the tough months when I was literally beaten down. Quite a few have gone way out of their way for me. (I’m not worthy. Thank you, thank you, thank you!) I have been so immensely blessed to be served with such great compassion, I would rather be the server. (Big time!)