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Finding Your Silver Lining!

Jul 17, 2008
Have you ever heard the saying,"Every cloud has a silver lining?" Basically, it means you should not feel hopeless when confronted with difficult times as they always lead to brighter days ahead. Difficulties are like the dark clouds that fill the sky on a rainy day, seemingly blocking out the sun.

Just as the clouds block the sun's rays, we feel that our joys or accomplishments are blocked by these difficulties. However, if you look very close at the edges of the cloud, you can see the sun shining as if to make a silver lining around the cloud. The splendor of that view is inspiring! It reminds us that an element of hope, or a consoling aspect, can be found in what appears to be an otherwise bad situation.

Each of us can recall a time in our life where we said, "if only..." For me, I used to have a mountain of them..

...if only I had gone to college, I would be a veterinarian..if only I had cared about myself, I wouldn't have blossomed to 330 lbs....if only I didn't have these stretch marks, I'd be so happy...only I had taken the other job, I wouldn't be unemployed

The truth of the matter is this...

....if I had gone to college directly after high school, I may or may not have become a veterinarian... but I would have missed the opportunity to meet my husband
...if I hadn't bloomed to 330 lbs,I may not have learned to have empathy and compassion for others. Additionally, I might not have had the opportunity to find my inner strength and determination
...if I had not had stretch marks, I may not have been blessed with the lovely young lady who I am proud to call my daughter, and my friend
...if I'd taken another job, I may or may not have been unemployed. I would, however, have missed meeting the kind gentleman that helped me learn my value

How did I learn to change my viewpoint? How did I learn to see the silver lining in every cloud? I'll share what my grandfather lovingly shared with my mother...and she caringly taught to me...

My grandfather moved to Kansas with the entrepreneurial spirit of drilling for oil. Coming from the small town of Carlisle, and being a welder, he knew little of what he would encounter. However, with much courage and the spirit of a pioneer, he and his father moved to Kansas to live their dream. He read and studied about the use of nitroglycerine and what it meant to fracture a well. Later, during the struggling days of a new business, his son asked if he could join him and his grandfather to work in the oil business. Grandpa wanted to have Buddy join him but wasn't sure if the young business would thrive enough to sufficiently support Buddy and his young family.

Buddy remained in Des Moines and secured employment driving a delivery truck for a donut shop. In a vehicle, similar to our UPS trucks of today, the driver's door was a full panel that slid into the side panel of the truck. It was during the late 1950's and seat belts were not in use. Drivers routinely drove their routes with the doors wide open to aid them in easily jumping in and out at each destination.

Grandpa received a call no parent wants to receive and was notified that his son had been killed. Someone hit the passenger side of the delivery van and Buddy had flown out the open doorway. The truck tipped over and his life ended.

Grandpa briefly allowed the words "..if only,...if only I had allowed Buddy to come to Kansas, he would still be alive" to occupy his thoughts. A while afterwards, Grandpa heard of an automobile accident on a country road in Kansas where the driver of a truck was killed. He came to the realization that he could never win the "what if" scenarios. For "if" he had told Buddy he could join him in Kansas, he "could" have been the driver that was killed on the road that day. Grandpa calmed his thoughts, threw out the "if only" language and focused on the positives of life.. the silver linings.

Grandpa chose to be happy in the fact that his son wanted to work with him and to be thankful for the years he had shared with Buddy. In addition, the lesson of the silver lining has now been passed on through four generations (soon to be five as I will be sending this to my grandchildren).

It is time to let go of the "what if's" of our lives and focus on our blessings. In doing so, we free ourselves from the torment of "what if". By developing an "attitude of gratitude" we allow our minds to embrace positive thoughts that, like a magnet, will be drawn to you. It prepares us for a mindset that Believes in the infinite possibilities of life!

Art Linkletter said, "Things turn out best for the people who make the best out of the way things turn out." Brian Tracy shared, "Develop an attitude of gratitude and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation."

Can we apply this lesson to our journey to a healthier lifestyle? You bet we can!

So, in the words of Mary Oliver,"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"
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