When you’ve brushed death’s door, you find more to feel thankful for and less to feel angry about. Now don’t misunderstand what I’m saying, I’m far from perfect, and I do get mad on occasion — it just takes more to push me there than it used to.
I almost died in 1997, in response to a severe allergic reaction to a pain med in a hospital. After my recovery, I could have assumed “my right” to file a law suit, but instead, I focused my energies on gratitude for life. I could have felt sorry for myself, but all that would have done was to make me more miserable than any of the people I subjected to my melancholy. I could have sought attention by making sure every person I came in contact with heard all about my dramatic event, and if they tried to tell me their story, I could have found a way to turn the subject back to me again — making me someone who made people run the other way. As I posted on Facebook the other day, “Misery may love company, but few desire the company of the miserable.”
And from that singular incident, I could have lumped all doctors, nurses, and other employees in that hospital, as incompetent at best, and murderers at worst. I could have refused to listen when they explained how the situation happened, and demanded they lose their jobs, assuming they didn’t deserve mercy.
But what if I got everything I deserved? What if no one ever showed me mercy?
Why do I say all of this right now?
America is in the throes of a division that could literally tear us apart, and cause us to implode, destroying us all. And it’s avoidable.
To focus on assumption without gathering facts is dangerous. To become attention-mongers, where our driving desire is to be in the know, prove we were there, or make others look or listen to us, is selfish. To “fight” for our rights is destructive. But we have an alternative.
- We can focus our thoughts on gratitude, expressing thanks for what we have versus complaining about what we perceive as lack.
- We can put ourselves in another person’s shoes, and imagine how things might have happened, giving them the benefit of the doubt. After all, if they are out of line, God is still equal parts justice and love, and ultimately, He will bring about the appropriate sentence for their choices.
- We can recall a time when someone showed us mercy we did not deserve. Jesus is the perfect example. He went so far as to put Himself in harm’s way, to sacrifice His life, for people who often don’t give him a moment’s thought.
- We can stop tearing other people down, even if we do it with a smile on our faces, to try and make ourselves look good.
- We can listen to others without distracting thoughts about what we want to say, where we will prove them wrong, or how we will fix them. We can give them our full attention, ears, eyes, mind, and heart, versus looking for ways to make the conversation about us and our agenda.
- We can agree to disagree with respect and dignity. Right-fighting and pride destroy people. Sometimes the most peaceful thing you can do is to step away from the situation, knowing your very presence can enflame emotions, so don’t fuel the fire.
- We can mourn with those who mourn, and rejoice with those who rejoice, instead of allowing self-centeredness, jealousy, assumptions, and paranoia to rule our actions.
Lumping an entire group of people into one assumptive category is foolish and dangerous — we’re seeing the results of that right now, from each divisive side. Love and acceptance are more than warm, fuzzy words, they are powerful acts that can make a real difference. If we want peace in our world, there’s only one logical place to start — by looking in the mirror. That’s what I’m doing today. With gratitude, I have much to be thankful for.
Anita Fresh Faith
Has anyone ever shown you mercy you didn’t deserve?
Proverbs 28:13 (ESV)
Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.
Anita Brooks, CPT, CLTF, CCS, motivates others to dynamic break-throughs. Blending mind, heart, body, and spirit, as an Inspirational Business/Life Coach, International Speaker, and Common Trauma Expert. She shares hope and encouragement on the stage and from the page — reminding audiences, “It’s never too late for a fresh start with fresh faith.”
Anita is also a multi-published, award-winning author. Her most recent titles include Amazon Best Seller and Readers’ Favorite International Book Award winner: Getting Through What You Can’t Get Over, Barbour Publishing, and Death Defied Life Defined: A Miracle Man’s Memoir, Clovercroft Publishing. All of her titles are available on her website and at major and independent bookstores as well as from online retailers.
Anita is quoted as saying, “Reading is my obsession while writing is my compulsion.” Her life’s passion is inspiring others to transform life’s battles into lasting victories.
For pure pleasure, Anita’s favorite pastime is watching sunsets with her husband of thirty-three years, while they laugh and dip their toes in a Missouri river or lake. She adores her grandchildren, but she also wants to hear about those you love.
You can connect with Anita on Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Periscope, and Twitter. Stay tuned for the release of her upcoming podcast, Fresh Faith Inspirations. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to request information on having Anita inspirationally speak or train at your next event.