I recently exchanged a few emails with a friend whom I had not seen in over 20 years. We traded stories about our families and our children, and the ups and downs we’ve experienced since the days long ago when we naively thought we had life figured out.
In one of these emails, she shared a heartbreaking story about the tragic loss of her child. I was deeply moved by her words, and cannot begin to comprehend what she and her husband went though. But as I continued reading, I found myself surprisingly uplifted as she expressed her thoughts and feelings about the experience and how it has shaped her life today.
The first thing that struck me was how she had successfully avoided falling into the “why me?” state of mind that we are all prone to when our lives cross paths with misfortune. She wrote that she has come to realize that the most important job she will ever have in her life, is to wake up and start the day full of energy and a heart filled with love for those in her life. She went on to explain how she had come to the conclusion that asking the question of “why?” lets too much anger into your heart, and that no answer could ever be good enough to satisfy. Instead, she chooses to stay positive by being grateful for the people around her and for those she has lost.
As I read her words, I felt especially connected to her – it felt as though she were sitting across from me telling me her story. Her strength in the face of adversity and how she chooses to experience her life moved me in such a way that I began to think about how I can make better choices when experiencing negative events – past, present and future – in my own life.
I have always trusted that God brings people in and out of our lives for very specific reasons. We don’t always understand the reason, but I believe it is because He knows we need those people in our life at that precise moment. It could be a neighbor, a panhandler in the street, or a friend from our past who brings us exactly what we need when we need it the most. And this re-connection came at just the right time.
As I have thought about this during the past few days, it occurred to me: If it weren’t for the 3,000 miles and twenty-plus years separating us, I would take this person lunch or coffee so I could personally say thank you, and let her know how much I appreciate her sharing her story, and opening my heart to a better way of looking at things.
Question: Who would you like to share lunch or coffee with as a way to say thank you? What are you going to do to make that possible?