Don’t look around at the mess, look up and feel blessed.
This week my parents have quite a literal mess on their hands in the form of a behemoth tree on top of their front porch. The beautiful porch, hand-made by my dad, has been situated at the front of their 125-year-old farm house for years. It is now folded in half after 80-90 mile per hour winds ripped through their property. It’s heart-breaking to see the pictures, I can’t imagine what my parents are feeling.
But here’s the deal. SECONDS before the porch was squashed like a bug, my mom was there rescuing her plants from the wind. SECONDS. She is safe because she walked outside when she did and not mere seconds later. My dad was sitting next to the outside wall that is caving with the weight of the tree currently. Had the wind shifted that tree a FOOT or two, we could be calling a funeral director instead of a contractor. A FOOT. Yes, there is a mess, but we are beyond blessed.
Have you ever had a catastrophe in your life that feels like a mess you will never recover from? Personally, when I’ve been in these situations in the past, I have NOT looked beyond the wreckage to find any possible blessings. I have had to train myself to think, ok, this could be worse. I’ve had to learn to stop myself on the path to victim town and see the bright side. This doesn’t come naturally; our brains are meant to follow the negative to protect us from future messes.
The funny thing is, in looking back, some of the worst experiences in my life have brought me the biggest blessings. I know, I know, that sounds cliché. But where would I be without them? I suspect I would be a living a very mediocre life with a bad attitude. I would not be living in the present but always waiting for the next thing. I would be uninspired. I would have missed out on so many lessons about life, about myself, about blessings.
Now, when life feels a mess, I take it in, but then remind myself of my blessings. It’s sometimes hard to see the positive in a negative situation, I may not see anything good for a while, but I am able to count other blessings. Even through the darkest times of my life I have been able to at least think – I am healthy, my kids are healthy, no one died. Sometimes that’s all we have, but it’s still something.
I know how hard life can feel. And I know it can be harder than I have experienced, much harder. I know you feel overwhelmed somedays. Maybe most days. I know you get frustrated. I know you second guess yourself, doubt your own worth, and wonder how things could possibly be worse. I know what it means to have no hope. But I also know you are stronger than you know. You can do hard things. You are worthy and deserve the best. Try to embrace the mess, know that it is temporary, and give yourself grace. And take a deep breath, close your eyes, look up to the sun, and let your warm blessings wash over you and remind you, life is worth it.