Have you ever been at a really fun social event, and then you’re talking to someone about it afterward (someone who was also there), and that person thought it just stunk? Isn’t it funny how you could both be at the same party, and one of you loved it while the other hated it?
Life is like that. Here’s how I learned to be the guy having fun.
In the late 1990s my family and I were going through a rough time financially. As crazy as it sounds, we were living off our credit cards for some of the basic needs of life. Month after month, the debt became worse. I can still remember how it felt standing in the grocery line, worried that maybe our card wouldn’t clear.
Day after day I stressed over how I was going to get out of the mess I was in. I was angry with myself and angry with others whom I thought had mistreated me. My health was poor. We were forced to sell our home and cars. We even sold a lot of our furniture. I was at one of the lowest points of my life.
One afternoon I remember driving in my car, just looking out the window, wondering, How bad is this going to get? Then I saw something that made a huge difference on how I was seeing things.
Off to the right on the sidewalk sat a man with no arms. He was drinking a soda with some friends. How? He would place his feet in a cupping shape and lift the cup and straw to his mouth—all the while laughing, smiling and carrying on a conversation. To watch him, you would have thought he hadn’t a care in the world. And there I was, thinking I couldn’t handle another ounce of discouragement, and this man was happy. He was content.
Was it because of the friends that surrounded him? Was it the fresh air in his lungs? Was it the beautiful blue sky or the warmth of the sun? I had all of those same gifts but couldn’t see any of them. Why? Because I was so focused on what I had lost that I had stopped being grateful for what I had.
As soon as I started counting my blessings, I began to look at my life through a different set of lenses. And when you look at things differently, things become different. You become different.
What in your life could use a little refocusing?