A few weeks ago I attended the Global Leadership Summit (by simulcast). One of the speakers was Sheryl Sandberg (COO of Facebook and author of the book Lean In). This gorgeous young woman looked like she had it all, and had it all together. Then she shared the story of her young husband’s sudden death while they were on vacation. He wasn’t even ill.
She was understandably devastated and paralyzed by grief. She told how slowly she worked her way through this tragedy to a new normal. Her therapist, Mark, was a big help, especially when he directed her mournful thoughts away from self-pity to gratitude (e.g. “Yes, your husband is gone, but you still have your children”). He challenged her to recall and write down, at the end of each day, three moments of joy from that day.
This Spiritual Journey Thursday finds me in the unusual spot of seeing my husband through surgery. Every time my mind goes to a negative place concerning this, I am trying to take Mark’s advice to Sheryl, and redirect it toward gratitude… which really isn’t that hard!
1. It’s elective surgery. Now that medical science has figured out how to replace hips, walking with a painful arthritis-degenerated hip is no longer a life sentence. And we’ve been waiting for this appointment for almost a year.
2. It’s publicly funded. We do our share of complaining about our country’s nationalized medical system (inefficiencies, rationing of treatment, long wait times). But when it comes to having to go to the hospital, it’s reassuring that it won’t bankrupt us.
3. General good health. I sat with hubby through his pre-admission interview with the nurse. As he answered question after medical question with “No” (no heart attacks, no strokes, no kidney disease, no diabetes etc.) it struck me how blessed he and I have been with good health.
4. Surgery is local, so no long drives to visit and fetch him home.
5. The hope of pain-free walking again—soon, we hope!
As I think of the days of rehabilitation ahead for him (I know a bit about what’s involved because I broke my hip in 2014 and also had to do the walker / cane / raised toilet seat / bath bench / hard to climb in and out of the car thing) I cling to my life verse for thought hygiene and reassurance:
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God which surpasses al understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” – Philippians 4:6,7 NKJV (emphasis added).
This post is linked to Spiritual Journey (first) Thursday, a once-a-month look at life’s spiritual side by a collection of blogging friends who met (mostly) on Poetry Friday. Spiritual Journey (first) Thursday is hosted today by Karen at Irene’s blog Live Your Poem.
5 thoughts on “Gratitude (Spiritual Journey First Thursday)”
Dear Violet, thank you for sharing here about the summit and also your personal situation. Wishing you and your hubby health and peace and healing as you move through this part of the journey… my mother has had both knees replaced, and oh what a difference it has made in her happiness/active-ness! Yes, good health is definitely something to be grateful for. xo
Violet: I hope all goes well with you and your hubby and his surgery. Thanks for sharing your journey.
I love the “life verse” you shared and your thinking as you try to redirect your thoughts. Here’s hope and prayers for healing and patience for the days ahead and for the blessing of pain free walking too. .
Violet, thanks for sharing this vulnerable piece of your heart. It’s so hard to watch someone we love go through pain. Prayers for your continued positive outlook and your husband’s recovery.
hope things are going better for you and your husband… baby steps toward the end goal