Here we are, somehow at the end of another year that blew by far too quickly. While this is the time of year of gift giving and giving thanks, I’d like to talk about the both serious and happy topic of hope. Hope is important during this time of year in particular because while lots of people, especially in this country, have cups running over with all that they could ask for; others are not so fortunate both here and abroad.
These challenges can range from a temporary blip to more major or sustained issues, whether it be an injury, bad diagnosis, losses associated with divorce, or the death of a loved one. These issues and events can make this time of year even harder than normal for people experiencing the pain of loss, hunger, or just the inability to pay bills, let alone buy gifts for loved ones.
Most recently, a dear friend of mine had a downturn with a brain tumor that had been staying in check for the past few years. He is one of those guys that makes everyone around him want to be a better person just by knowing him. Understanding his strong character makes his situation all that more painful for those that know him personally.
Situations like this naturally lead to the question of, “Why?”. A question you hate to be faced with asking when it comes to these earth-shaking events in life. How do you not ask or have it cross your mind? It is impossible. Why indeed could something like this happen to a man like this who is so peaceful, so caring, and with so much to offer in making the world a better place? Even in this latest challenge, he has lead by example with his amazing grace and faith.
If you are the person doing the struggling this year, it’s important to know that you can get through your challenge. Don’t try to do it on your own. Most people I know truly do want to help others. Helping others is the clearly the single biggest cause of happiness in life. Study after study concludes this. Isn’t it interesting that you, the person in need, will actually bring happiness to those that you reach out to when you ask them for help? Talk about a win-win! As your confidants help you through this, they in turn are helped. Joy and love come full circle and are made whole through and with you in your time of hardship. There are so many examples of the “circle of life”. Be a part of it! Let’s make 2019 a year of grace toward others and giving. Lord knows we need it.
As for my friend and hope: I received a video just yesterday of him after a follow-up MRI that followed a new treatment. In his gentle and lovely way, he calmly stated in the video with a smile, that the tumor had shrunk. (I literally just took in a deep, long breath after typing that last line just as I did when I first watched the video clip of him giving the update). Hope is here again. It always is, as long as you let it in. Breath it in. Even after the worst things life has thrown at us…There is always hope.
Do yourself a favor and listen to this song, Swinger in the Trees, from one of my favorite Wisconsin-based bands, Dead Horses. Even if you don’t believe my words, Sarah’s voice itself will give you hope.
Thank you to all we have crossed paths with this year and for putting your trust in us. Many blessings to you and your families.