I was out at an event last week, and a friend, not noticing I was praying before eating, started talking to me. She immediately stopped as soon as she realized it, and when I opened my eyes and lifted my head, she apologized and said that it had been a long time since she not only noticed someone saying grace before eating, but since she had, too. Then she mentioned that it’s sometimes hard to be thankful when you have an illness that often leaves you loathing God more than loving him.
I could understand all too well where she was coming from. In fact, it took me back a couple of years, when I had come home from a doctor’s visit. I had just been diagnosed with my fourth of fifth condition, had a breast cancer scare, and was told, yet again, that my symptoms were a mere progression of my diseases. I cried all the way home. When I got home. And all through the night. I may have even cried myself to sleep that night. I fell into a state of depression. I didn’t understand. My motto has always been that “everything happens for a reason,” and though you may not be able to see the ‘why’ it’s important to keep moving forward, stay positive, and have faith. Yet at that particular time, it was hard to be positive, it was hard to push through, and it was hard to have faith. In fact, it was hard to love God. For the first time in my life, I was angry at him. Fiercely angry.
If you know me, you know that I am extremely optimistic. Sometimes so overly optimistic that others would call me naive. That stems from all the crap I’ve seen and had to live through. I believe, wholeheartedly, that positivity will get you further in life. But at that moment, I couldn’t see a silver lining to save my life. I couldn’t see the sunshine and rainbows. I saw hatred, anger, and for the first time ever, I played the “why me” card. Why, God? Why me? My sisters conceive so easily, why not me? No one else in my immediate family has to deal with these issues, why me? I’ve always been a good girl, why me? What on earth did I do to deserve this? Why me, God?? WHY ME???
About a week went by, and I was still angry. The stupidest things made me cry because I just didn’t understand the point of it all. I didn’t understand what I was supposed to take away from this. I didn’t know where I was supposed to find my ray of sunshine to ride the rainbow out of this darkness. And then I came across a piece of paper in my notebook that had a phrase scribbled on it…..
“Maybe God gave me this disease so I would understand how important loving life is.”
And there it was. Words spoken by another a year prior to my anger filled meltdown, that brought me back from my darkness. The ‘why’ no longer mattered. What mattered then, was that I was given another chance to fight my battles, to stay strong, remain positive, and regain my faith. And I did. And I have, everyday since.
It was that tiny meltdown and state of depression and hate that reminds me that I have so much to be grateful for in this life. There are so many positive things to focus on, rather than feeding that life sucking anger that, quite literally, would have swallowed me whole had I stayed there in the pit of darkness. I choose to focus on the positive, the uplifting, and the happy things in life. That is how I survive. And, if nothing else, I am a survivor.
I find comfort in prayer. It reminds me that I have a God with an unconditional love for me, which I am so beyond grateful for. A God that I can yell, and scream, and be angry at, and will still surround me with his love, as strong as ever. A God that is forgiving, and understands that sometimes I am overwhelmed with the trials that I face. And I am. I am perfect by no means. But my appreciation for life far exceeds any fleeting moment of chaos and trial. For every one bad thing or circumstance I am presented with, I can easily think of ten positive things in my life to trump it.
Life is a beautiful gift. Whether you believe in God or not, there are plenty of good things that surround you on a daily basis. Find the good in life. Focus on the positive. And when you find yourself in a tough spot, look up to find the rainbow.