When life has you on your hands and knees, choose to crawl and be thankful.
In the past couple of weeks, I have been struggling with the compounding effects of prednisone. Sleeplessness, moodiness and irritability, endless hunger, rapid weight gain, dizziness and an especially obnoxious acne breakout. Sounds lovely, doesn’t it?
It certainly feels like a challenge to be me in moments, and word on the street is, I’ve been a bit of a bitch to live with. Thank goodness for the foundation of love and respect that Vea and I have built. I’m also quite thankful that Vea knows the real “me”, and can muster the grace, compassion and patience to give me the space I need right now.
In light of these struggles and challenges, I decided to share an article that I clipped from the newspaper well over 10 years ago. It was relevant to what I was going through at the time, and it has been meaningful at different periods ever since. I have been thinking about this article off and on in the past week, and today was compelled to dig it out and give it another look. Just reading these words raises my vibration, and makes me feel hopeful and thankful again. It’s my hope that they do something similar for you!
“BE THANKFUL FOR THE DIFFICULT THINGS IN LIFE, TOO”
By Bob Greene, nationally syndicated columnist for the Chicago Tribune
Let us take a moment to be grateful not for the good things with which we have been blessed – but for the difficult things that make us feel frustrated and small. The importance of those vexing things is vastly underestimated. And in the end, it is often those things that make us as good as we are.
There was a quote in the newspaper the other day – something that was said by Ara Parseghian, the legendary retired football coach who found his greatest triumphs at Notre Dame. Parseghian had been asked to reflect on his Saturdays of victory there. “I can remember every detail of every one of my losses” he said.” I can barely remember anything about my wins.'”In those few words, you can find an entire library’s worth of advice on how to be a success in life. And any person who has ever been a success can vouch for the truth in those words. “I can remember every detail of every one of my losses…”
The thing I will recall the longest about John Glenn’s recent return to space is not anything that happened during the blastoff, or during the days of orbiting the Earth. What will stay in my mind is something that Glenn said after he and the crew of the Discovery had returned to Cape Canaveral. Glenn, as you will remember, was having some trouble readjusting to the Earth’s atmosphere after the space shuttle had landed. He and his fellow astronauts waited longer than anyone had expected to emerge and do the traditional walk-arund of the spacecraft on the runway.
It would turn out that he was feeling weak and wobbly; at 77 his re-entry to Earth’s gravity was causing him more problems than he had hoped. The crew waited with him until he thought he was ready to attempt the walk. If you saw it, you know that Glenn was unsteady on his feet as he made the walk-around; he seemed to be taking special care to keep his balance, not to fall. The next day, at the crew’s first post-flight press conference, he was asked about that – was asked what had been going on while the crew delayed the walk-around. Had Glenn ever considered the possibility of not making the ceremonial walk? He answered in that even, flat central-Ohio voice of his – a voice that sounds like music to me, a voice I have heard thousands upon thousands of times, coming from thousands and thousands of Ohioans, in the years of my growing up. Had there been a chance that Glen n was going to decline making the walk? Glenn looked at the questioner, and answered: “If I would have been on my hands and knees, I was going to do it.”
Was there a person who doubted that he meant every single word? When things are going great – when the world is telling you how wonderful you are – those are not the moments worth keeping in your heart. The moments that forge you – the moments that make you a winner – are the moments of no cheers at all, the moments of no praise. Glenn has known so many of those moments – if you study his life, you will find that the times he rose to the top always followed times of failure, of being passed over, left behind. The world has seen him only as a winner. He knows different.
If you have never stumbled – or if you have stumbled and not cared – then you are missing something essential in life. If the times you have lost, the times you have been found wanting, don’t mean much to you – if you have regarded those times with a shrug, as something inevitable – then you might not fully comprehend the quiet ferocity obehind Glenn’s words. “If I would have been on my hands and knees, I was going to do it.”
Is a person like Ara Parseghian robbing himself of something? If you can’t enjoy your days of victory – if you can hardly remember them, if your nights of defeat and despair are with you all the time, in every detail, and your bright afternoons of victory are scarcely recalled at all, lost in the haze – are you cheating yourself out of life’s greatest bounty? Not necessarily. The trophies in your life – symbolic and actual – can do nothing but sit there and tarnish. They aren’t essential to who you are. What is essential? What does matter? The part of you that wants something so badly you would get on your hands and knees and crawl for it. The part of you so alive, so hungry. Be thankful for that part of you. Your best and truest self.