Good morning, dear Daughter.
Real talk Friday.
Things happen to people. Things that we simply can't control, or see coming. Is this fate? Who can say?
And I've always believed, and tried to help to convince you, that things that happen are never the end of the story. It's what we do with the things that happen the defines us. How we respond both reflects our character today and shapes our character going forward. In that respect, things that happen, whether they bring joy, sadness, happiness, grief...are neither good nor bad. They're just things that happen.
But what we do with them determines their goodness or badness.
Do we convince ourselves that we deserve the joy that may come our way - taking it for granted, or do we open our hearts and count ourselves lucky for even the smallest moment of wonder that we stumble upon Do we look for the opportunity to grow in the painful things that happen can offer? Or do we simply bathe in the pain, and strengthen our defenses against the next thing that is surely going to happen? Do we remain open to possibilities, hopeful and determined, or do we retreat from life, angry, cynical, and despairing?
But it's the belief that we have the choice in how to respond that's been the very foundation of my belief system, and it's served me very well through any number of things that have happened.
And then February 14, 2017.
Never did I ever consider this could be a thing that could happen. How could I? And since then, there have been times that I don't know whether I have the strength to respond with the character that I want to believe I possess. That despite my best efforts, perhaps it's beyond my ability to choose to see that day through a grateful lens.
Why do I tell you this?
- When I doubt my ability to choose, you inspire me by your determination. You breath determination into me. And while I may sometimes doubt, seeing your gratitude helps to tip the scales away from victimhood, and toward freedom to choose. Your determination affirms that I'm strong enough, and able to find reasons for gratitude - even in this thing that I hate above all things. (By the way: This is also what you give to your army and those around you. This is what people are talking about when they tell you they admire your strength. This is a real thing, and when people tell you that you're touching lives - it's not just blather. You are giving people the courage to hope, and that may be the best thing a person can give to another person.)
- You must have moments of doubt, yourself. When you wonder if your strength reserves are up to a day of back pain, or another round of treatment, or another bout of nausea. That makes you human, and I hope you never get discouraged by the fact that you sometimes get discouraged. Please know that in those moments, I, and so many others are there for you to return the great gift of hope that you've given to us, giving it back to you as freely, or even more freely than you've given it to us. It's okay to struggle. It's okay to doubt your strength. Because it's in your moments of struggle that we can give back to you.
And you know better than most the joy that giving can bring.
I love you more than you know, Flounder.