I frequently write and speak about how important it is to appreciate everything in your life. It's easy for some people, and not so easy for others. Obviously, most of the time the determining factor is how good your life is. Sure, feeling appreciation when life is going well is not nearly as difficult when it's not.
I am one of the lucky ones who has a lot to be grateful for. However, the last couple of weeks has really tested my ability to stay positive during hard times. Let me tell you what happened.
On Halloween night, my youngest son was trick-or-treating with his friends in the neighborhood. He had developed a cough that day, but it wasn't anything out of the ordinary. I just figured he was catching a cold. However, he had to come inside the house during trick-or-treating so he could rest. That's not like him! But I figured, "Oh okay, this is going to be a bad cold, or maybe a respiratory virus."
That weekend, he was at his dad's house - and he developed a VERY high temperature. We're talking like 103-104 degrees. And it just wouldn't go away. I took him to the doctor a couple of times that week. The doctor listened for pneumonia, but couldn't hear anything. But by the following Friday, he still was miserable and had a pretty high temperature (100-101).
So the doctor recommended a chest x-ray to rule out pneumonia. Well, not only did he have pneumonia, he had a really bad case of it. They told us to take him to the emergency room at the Children's Hospital in town. After examining him, they immediately said they were going to admit him - for at least one night, maybe two.
Like I said, I have been lucky. Sure, my kids have had colds and the flu - hasn't everyone? But the last time either of my sons stayed the night in a hospital was when they were born.
I slept with him that night at the hospital. The nurses came in every hour to check on him. I would be lying if I said I wasn't scared.
But even in my dark moment of fear, I found gratitude.
"Thank God it's 'only' pneumonia," I thought.
That might sound weird. But I know way too many parents who are (or were) dealing with far worse things than pneumonia with their children. Some of their children have cancer, diabetes, or been killed in car accidents. So once again, I said ...
"Thank God it's 'only' pneumonia."
It was only yesterday that we learned just how bad his case was. All of the pediatricians at his doctor's office had looked at his x-ray and were talking about what a terrible case it was.
He was kind of famous in the doctor's office. Not exactly what I would like him to be famous for, however!
Another good thing is that he has bounced back so quickly. He was operating on only 75% of his lung capacity, and now he almost seems back to normal. The doctor said he has some powerful lungs and must be a healthy kid to recover so quickly.
We all go through bad times. And it is difficult to find the silver lining sometimes. But I hope my story has given you a little inspiration for trying to find gratitude - even if your dark times.
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