This picture was taken last week at Sea World while we were on vacation in Florida. This picture is full of smiles and fun because this in fact was one of the coolest experiences we have ever done. In the words of my son Kaden, “I love dolphins now!” But what you don’t see in this picture is the heartache I was feeling from getting a call just an hour before this excursion saying my Grandmother had a stroke and had passed away. Also, in this picture behind the smiles is the excruciating pain Jeremy was in that landed us in the hospital that afternoon. It was such a bizarre day that I even sat through the Shamu show crying under my sunglasses! What in the world? I kept telling Jeremy we could go because I knew how much pain he was in; he insisted on staying because he didn’t want to ruin this for the boys. Yet, by late afternoon the boys could sense their Daddy’s pain and told us that “it was okay if we needed to go, they knew Dad was not feeling well.” Can I say I am so thankful these sweet boys are like their Daddy? Such tender hearts! So, Jeremy ended up getting admitted into the hospital in Orlando for a night. After getting him settled in the hospital, I went back to our resort to get myself and the boys settled for the night and to start trying to get flights changed to come home early for my Grandmother’s funeral. Then realized that I couldn’t do that yet because I didn’t know when Jeremy was getting out of the hospital. So, I then laid in the bed by myself quietly weeping over the chaos of the day; the heartbreak of losing my grandmother and Jeremy having to be admitted to the hospital and thinking “Geez, this was supposed to be vacation?!?!” And then I hit reset on my thinking.
I stepped back and gained perspective. My “old normal” would have been to get in a tizzy and selfishly pitch my own little fit about all of this wrecking our plans. Yet, in that moment, I just said thank you Lord for giving us a great 3 days together as a family. We had a wonderful beginning of the week. Yes, I was heartbroken that my grandmother had passed away, but she was 91 years old, was ready for the Lord to take her home and I knew she was in a better place where her body was completely healed and she could once again walk. Yes, I was sad Jeremy was in the hospital on vacation, but I knew it was temporary, he would be given medication and would be okay. But, I was not going to complain or be upset about vacation getting interrupted. What a privilege it is to even have a vacation when I have met many that don’t even know what a vacation is because all they are worried about is where their next meal is going to come from. I also thought about those in Louisiana that are losing their homes, their livelihood, basically everything through record flooding and there is nothing they can do about it but watch. I then looked at the picture of that precious 5-year-old boy in the ambulance in Syria covered in blood and ash, living in a country under relentless attack. He’s not worried about the first day of school and I’m sure has never been on a vacation, he is just wondering if he is going to survive!
So, as I laid sad and stressed over my circumstances I asked the Lord to give me peace in my heart and wisdom in my mind to ‘deal’ with what I had to deal with. Yet, I asked Him to help me remain in a place where I kept perspective on what a privileged life I lead and how even when my heart hurts or things are tough, I am still privileged. I am meant for so much more than being upset over vacation being interrupted.
Our perspective has to reset often, or at least mine does. We have to pan out of what is right in front of us and take an overview of life around us. No, it’s not a comparison thing, it’s a perspective thing. I remained thankful for the time we had as a family for vacation, even though it was cut short, because I realized this wasn’t the end of the world!
–Please don’t misunderstand me: Many of you sweet friends are dealing with much heavier things than I could possibly fathom. You are in major crisis from losing a child or a spouse, battling a disease that may not be cured on this earth, maybe dealing with abuse or many other things I cannot imagine. These are circumstances that go beyond what I am addressing here. And because of that precious friend, I am praying for you right now. I am praying the King of all Kings wraps His mighty arms around you and carries you through.-
My purpose in this blog is for those of us dealing with more trivial things, things that are not major crisis’. Things like our feelings getting hurt by someone, stress at work or like me, vacation getting interrupted. In these moments, we must keep perspective. We must remember we are meant for so much more. That more, is sharing the love of Christ. Whether it be through missions in a foreign country, traveling to Louisiana to help victims of a flood, maybe serving at your local homeless shelter or simply helping out your neighbor–we are meant for more than flipping out over small things. Remember that even if “so and so” hurt your feelings, 5 year old Omran Daqneesh of Syria just found himself in the middle of an airstrike instead of a kindergarten classroom.
Perspective is so important.
I will praise the Lord at all times; His praise will always be on my lips. Psalm 34:1