Most of us know what the above title means. And I’m hoping that we have all had the opportunity to do this. It is so simple to do that I think it would happen more often if we just thought about it.
I have a friend that works at a restaurant and he told me that every week, a widower comes in for dinner and, while there, he’ll look around for a family (usually a large family having dinner) and when he goes to pay his bill, he’ll ask the hostess if $75.00 will cover their bill. When she says yes, he leaves her enough to cover the tab and the tip. After he leaves, and has been gone for several minutes, she goes over and tells the family what had happened – that their bill has been taken care of. They are completely surprised! And so very grateful.
We are sent here to this planet to make a difference – I always felt it. Now I know it. We are given essential tools and talents and it is our job to make something of what we have. And what do we have?
Eyes to see; ears to hear; a brain to think; arms and hands to work; legs to get us where we are meant to go. I was born and raised in an able-bodied world – and there I would excel. Or so I thought.
In my world, a man’s worth was measured by what he could do – especially physically. A real man got up early, worked hard all day, and went to bed tired but happy, because of all he accomplished. A real man was the provider and protector. A real man was ‘the man.’
On that day when my life changed, I had a choice. I could resist what was happening, or I could receive change into my life and move forward with it. Those two words, “resist” or “receive” make the difference in our life experience. Life happens. While we wish it wasn’t so, tragedy happens. Change is the way of things. At each fork in the road, at each obstacle, or at each two-thousand pound bale of hay that crashes down on top of us, we must choose our response.
Let’s examine those two words. “Resist” means to fend off, or to keep from giving in. “Receive” means to hear or to see. It also means to have “met with”. When tragedy and change come our way, do we resist them and fight them, or do we hear their message, see their requirement and
meet them squarely? I am not the only quadriplegic. I am not the only person with physical limitations or health concerns. I am certainly not the
only husband seeking to provide a living for his family. And yet, I know many who face tragedies, big and small, who choose to resist required change.
One of the blessings I have always been grateful for is the knowledge of knowing that I am in charge of my own life. Now, you might think that sounds pretty silly coming from me – a man – a quadriplegic man – confined to a wheelchair for the last 14 years.
And it is true, there have been times in my life where it may have appeared I didn’t have control….. But, that’s because I hadn’t made the decision to take charge. It may not seem like it at the time, but we do have control over most aspects in our lives; we merely choose to not use it.
Are we all not beggars? Chad Hymas goes homeless downtown in the the streets of Salt Lake City last Saturday afternoon.
His words pierced me to the very core. While listening to his sermon, I thought to myself, “How often have I bypassed somebody else where I could’ve given service? How often have I turned the other cheek and avoided a direct smile or eye contact? How often have I been given an opportunity to lend a helping hand, yet looked away?”
Each day presents us with new experiences and challenges. I find one of the greatest challenges I face each day is finding enough time to do the things I want to do – and need to do – whether it be at home or at work.
I am sure most of you agree that some of the most pressing problems facing our families today are bad movies, books and language. Years ago, these would have shocked us. Today, they barely get a second glance.
Whether I am speaking with my family or at work, there are certain subjects I am uncomfortable with. Because the world seems to be changing so quickly, I find I need to talk to my children about those touchy subjects – we all know what they are.
“Look Dad, you’re flying!”
Those wonderful words spoken by my three-year-old son, Christian, while I struggled to regain my balance, inspired the theme of my speaking business: “Who needs legs, when you have wings?”
Flights of fancy, I believe, are as important as real flight. Of course I will never really fly. That is impossible.
Or is it?
It is a beautiful misty morning in the spring of 2003. I am driving alone on Interstate 15 near what we call The Point of the Mountain. There, the Wasatch Mountains intrude into the valley with an enormous steep ridge or “point.” Winds that hit this ridge produce huge updrafts that support swooping, climbing, and diving hang-gliders. On a good day, over a dozen kites move in and out in an eclectic pattern like a free form dance of brightly colored butterflies.
To regret the experience is to regret the lesson – because the lesson is inextricably contained in the experience. Too often when changes occur and our circumstances are not as we planned, we tend to focus on what we lost, what we’ve missed, what’s gone wrong, who is to blame, and “why me.” We are not accepting the reality of our changed circumstance or the opportunity those changed circumstances present. We ignore the gift of change and delay our progress.
A certain amount of “Dang, I just shouldn’t have done that,” is natural; and accepting the fact that you did it – or failed to do it – is healthy. But spending too much time in regret denies us the opportunity of getting the most out of our experience – devastating though the experience may seem. By accepting the reality of my experience and the opportunity to gain what I can from both the experience and the result, I gain the blessing of focusing on new opportunity and getting on with my life.
A Wyoming cowboy was once asked what was the greatest lesson he’d learned from his experiences of ranching.
“The Herefords taught me one of life’s most important lessons,” he replied. “We used to breed cattle for a living, but the winter storms would come and kill ’em off. It would take a terrible toll on the herd.
Time and time again, after a cold winter storm, we’d find most of our cattle piled up against the fences, dead as door nails.
They would turn their backs to the icy wind, and slowly drift downward until the fences stopped them. There, they just piled up and died.
On that day when my life changed, I had a choice. I could resist what was happening, or I could receive change into my life and move forward with it.
Those two words, “resist” or “receive” make the difference in our life experience. Life happens. While we wish it wasn’t so, tragedy happens. Change is the way of things. At each fork in the road, at each
obstacle, or at each two-thousand pound bale of hay that crashes down on top of us, we must choose our response.
I am not the only quadriplegic. I am not the only person with physical limitations or health concerns. I am certainly not the only husband seeking to provide a living for his family. And yet, I know many who face tragedies, big and small, who choose to resist required change.
There are times when we believe in everything and everyone but ourselves. We seem to be in a constant search for mentors and role models.
When we make mistakes in our lives, the most brutal beating we take is the one we inflict upon ourselves. We count ourselves out before the referee has even blown the whistle!
I have always believed that we hold the power and light within ourselves to create whatever we need in order to be happy and healthy in our lives. It may not be easy to become who you really are because it can mean developing a whole new set of responses to life.
We are all aware that having a positive attitude in life will serve us much better than a negative one. For some reason, however, we can easily be drawn into the negative side. So how do we establish a positive attitude on a daily basis?
I think, speak and write about this almost every day; but even for me, it isn’t always easy. There are days when I see the world through a negative perspective, focusing on the bad and ignoring the good, especially when things don’t seem to be going the way I had hoped.