One of the reasons why I wanted to start this blog was to help myself learn to focus on things that encourage positivity, beauty and joy. Even in the midst of the challenging, difficult day. This is very difficult for me and always has been. I am so grateful for the opportunity to change this around in myself and I pray daily that God will give me strength and courage to do so. We all know how difficult life can be. We understand days are hard. The dust bunnies pile high and seem to be alive. The kids have temper tantrums in the middle of the library. The teenager becomes ungrateful and indignant. The car breaks down during rush hour. And then some of the worst of the worst crashes down upon us when we get a serious diagnosis we’d never imagine could happen.
But despite these trials there is hope. We see it in the flowers, the rainbows, the laughing babies and the snow that gently falls blanketing the world in white.
This! This is what we need to open our eyes to, to gaze upon these treasures that are all around us. They warm our hearts. They bring smiles and they bring life back into focus.
I was recently reminded of just this when I was reading a church news article.
At the conclusion of the Commencement Exercises at St. Vladimir Seminary, His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon addressed the Class of 2018, sharing a moving story about a cheerful email he received from an 11-year-old girl in the midst of her struggle with cancer, from which she subsequently passed away.
I will share with you one moment that has been an encouragement to me recently. Two years ago, I received an email from an 11-year old girl containing a picture of herself with the following message: “It was snowing today! The snow was so strong and the grass was white! It was majestic! I hope you can visit me soon. You are always welcome! Hope to see you soon!” This message came a month after her foot had been amputated after a long year of chemotherapy treatments for bone cancer which had put an end to an already prolific young career in singing, dancing, and playing the piano and the violin on a professional level. This message also came two weeks before her death. Even as she faced this tremendous physical suffering, the difficulties of treatment, and the reality of her own death, she never lost the joy of living, nor did she grow bitter or angry. Her courageous and joyful example, along with her Christ-like long-suffering, confirmed for me that truly the glory of God is revealed in a human person, sometimes more brightly in the most trying of circumstances, and that there is no work that is more necessary than caring for our broken and hurting fellows, all of whom, like us, are made in the image and likeness of that glory. I have this as a source of inspiration for my own life, and I hope that you also can find such inspiration in your own journeys.
This, my friends, is so beautiful and inspiring. We need to be like this beautiful little girl who never lost sight of what was truly important, despite her incredible circumstances.