“I have been given so much and I have treasured so much and I have lost so much. And I am so grateful.” ~Choose Joy (page 114)
While dying from a terminal disease, Sara Frankl wrote these words on her blog. She was in her 30s, confined to her home with only her little dog Riley. She suffered immeasurable pain every day, pain that kept her awake at night.
For over a decade, Sara had been slowly losing her independence, losing her job and health and hobbies, losing the life she thought she’d have, losing her abilities one by one.
But she focused on all that she gained. The cry of her life was, “I am so blessed, people.”
Sara didn’t pretend she wasn’t dying. She didn’t fall into distractions to escape her real life.
Instead, she chose to see the ordinary beauty in her days. She made it one of her goals to fulfill God’s plan for her, by living the best life she could with what she’d been given.
She chose to look at her blessings more than her burdens.
She chose joy.
Whenever Sara started to feel unhappy with her circumstances, she purposely focused instead on things for which she was grateful–moments with people she held dear, nurses who came to the house to help her, blog readers who encouraged her. The birds singing outside her window, the breeze, the sunshine.
She decided to change her focus, and that made all the difference.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve struggled to choose gratefulness and joy when things are not going the “right” way.
Especially since becoming a Mom, and even more as a homeschooling Mom. I’ve noticed changes in my attitude when I purposely write out things I’m thankful for–but that’s the kind of practice I start and stop.
And the ugly truth is, some moments I don’t want to stop and think of things I’m thankful for. I feel entitled to being mad at someone instead. I feel entitled to complain.
Sara’s story brings me back to reality, reminding me of the bigger picture. It helps me get my focus off myself and what I want, which is often my problem.
Her words inspire me to greatness, but not the way I used to define greatness. She inspires me instead with a life submitted to God. She inspires me with surrender.
When life closed doors on her, she walked the difficult road of letting go. There, she found so much beauty in all the chaos. Day after day, she found beauty, right in the middle of her mess.
“It’s not about me; it’s about what He can do with me. My job is simply to pay attention and enjoy the rainbows.” (page 11)
There are always rainbows, friends. In your days, in my days, even in a life with a terminal diagnosis.
The question is–are you paying attention? If we focus on what’s going badly for us, we’ll miss the rainbows. Instead, let’s choose joy over despair. Let’s choose living over longing.
*I hope you want to read more on this topic, in Choose Joy: Finding Hope & Purpose When Life Hurts, by Sara Frankl & Mary Carver. Buy it here!
**Leave a comment to be entered in a drawing for a giveaway of this book. I will choose the lucky winner on Sunday, January 31 after 2 pm.
1/31 Update: Pat is the winner! Pat, I sent you a message and look forward to mailing the book to you this week! 🙂