It can always be worse.
There’s always something to be thankful for.
Look on the bright side.
Whenever my child is sick or in the hospital, people try to encourage me to keep a healthy perspective with familiar sayings. I know these people are right, but it’s hard to do at times. My medically complex child has thrown many curveballs over the past 11 years. We’ve had planned surgeries and many, many unplanned hospital admissions for illnesses that have been challenging for days or weeks on end. When pressure is coming in on every side, it’s easy to be discouraged. I should know.
For a few years, I allowed myself to become upset with my circumstances. I wondered why my child suffered so much. I wished for the problems that normal people had. I got frustrated with the daily medical interventions that my daughter required. I wasn’t upset with her, but I just didn’t think life was fair for us.
Negative thoughts were bound to come in those times of struggle, but I was the one who chose to meditate on them. Before I knew it, I was headed down that slippery slope of sadness and discouragement. Hope faded. I was convinced I was always going to be stressed and anxious as a parent. I wanted to roll my eyes when I was told to look on the bright side. What bright side?
I have gotten wiser with age and experience. I realize that negative thoughts will come, but I don’t have to agree with them. I can use the advice of others and counter the negative with a positive. If I can remind myself of the good in my situation, then I can keep an attitude of Christ. I’ve had plenty of time to practice this recently.
This winter has been challenging for my family. My daughter has been admitted to the hospital three times for different respiratory issues. The first two admissions I handled fairly well even though they were intense and included time in the ICU. The third admission broke me. I wanted to give up for about 24 hours. I was still stressed and tired from the second admission before the third one started. As I drove the hospital, I said some things that reminded me of my old negative self, which for my humility’s sake I won’t list for you.
A day into the hospital admission, I had time to breathe and calm myself. I tried to think of some positives with this situation:
My father-in-law is off work to watch my son at our home.
An ambulance wasn’t needed to transport my daughter this time.
My daughter didn’t need the ICU.
When I left the house, it was clean and in order.
I found the bright side in the situation. My list of positives wasn’t much, but it was some small things to be thankful about. Really, it could have been worse.
Sometimes it is tough to the see the bright side. It’s hard to be positive in a challenging situation, but doing so allows me to see the tiny ways God is working in my life. When I look on the bright side, I allow hope to grow and crush those seeds of discouragement.
What about you? Are you feeding yourself discouragement or encouragement? Look harder. You’ll find that bright side.
Evana is a wife and mother of two children. Since becoming a parent, Evana has spent many hours driving to specialty appointments, praying beside a hospital bed, and learning about her children’s diagnoses. Evana is also a pediatric speech-language pathologist and serves children with autism, feeding disorders, and other developmental delays. You can connect with Evana on Twitter, Facebook, and her blog, A Special Purposed Life.