It is often said that there are two types of people in this world when it comes to how they perceive life: those who look at it as the “glass half full” or the “glass half empty”. Before you run away screaming “Oh my God, Valerie is killing us with clichés!” and stop reading, I want to assure you, in the best Stephen Fry voice I can out on, that I will try my level best not to kill you with clichés (can’t promise anything on puns, innuendos or just pure boredom though! :D).
As many of you who are regular readers of my blog will know, the past few days have been a very emotional time for me with the loss of a school friend, Mary, who I had only recently reconnected with. The news hit me hard, much harder than I ever expected, and I was surprised by it. A few moments ago, I got a text message from my Mum telling me my Dad picked up his new hearing aid, much more high-tech than the very basic government-subsidised model he had been wearing for the past few years. Dad was overwhelmed with emotion by this new device which is allowing him to hear music again. My Dad is a natural musician – with no formal training, he could pick up any instrument and start playing tunes. With the hearing loss, his quality of life deteriorated and caused a lot of angst and frustration amongst the whole family. So with this latest news, I was once again brought to tears, this time from joy.
So what’s my point? In Mary’s case, her “lemon” was cancer. She fought hard and sucker-punched it, and even though she lost her battle, she never gave up the fight. My Dad is now going to sucker-punch aging and hopefully start the Sunday afternoon musical jam sessions with my sister and nephew again (and I will bring my earplugs :D).
Let me tell you a little story I heard at Mass a while ago – contrary to popular belief, I may be a Twitter addict but I do not tweet in Church and I do (occasionally!) pay attention to the homily:
A man was fishing at sea when a storm blew and his boat was overturned. He looked to Heaven and asked God to save him. A short while later, another boat passed by and offered to help the man. The man said, “No, God will save me.” So the boat left and headed to safety. A few hours later, a submarine emerged from below and saw the man. The captain of the submarine offered to help the man. Once again, the man rejected the offer and said to the captain, “No, God will save me.” So the submarine re-submerged and left the man holding on for dear life. Another few hours passed and the man was getting tired when the storm had passed and a search-and-rescue helicopter found him and offered to pick him up. For the third time that day, the man answered, “No, God will save me.”
The search-and-rescue team reluctantly left the man. Finally, the man could no longer hold on and eventually drowned. When the man went to Heaven, he said to God, “Dear God, why did you not come and save me?” To which the Lord replied, “I sent you another boat, a submarine and a rescue helicopter. What were you expecting?”
When “bad” things happen to us, some of us will just curl up in a ball and, for those who believe in God, might say “it is God’s will” while others may say, “how can I turn this into something good” – you know, like lemonade? I don’t have all the answers and I must confess I have a tendency to be in the former category before I can finally, hopefully, eventually, see the open door for something good. Maybe it’s all the time it takes to find a juicer to make that lemonade. The point is, if someone offers you a hand, take it. Mary’s doctors offered her treatment during her pregnancy which gave her two years with her children which she may not have had, had she said no. The helping hand may come in many shapes and sizes, and when it comes, fight the instinct to say no, because it may just lead to something good – lemon ice-cream, anyone?
With love and peace,