Thankfully, the answer to this question - for today - is No. Thankfully.
Generally, if I'm having a bad day, and feeling a bit sorry for myself or my situation, I will ask myself the question, "Was anyone in my family diagnosed with cancer today?" To-date, the answer has been 'No.' That reply to my rhetorical question has always left me feeling not only less sorry for myself, but actually grateful for my own problems. The word 'cancer' instills a chilling fear in most of us, and rightly so, given that it literally consumes the being - physically, mentally, and emotionally - of its host and those who love them.
Life can present other problems that consume us, as well. Many suffer with physical ailments that are as debilitating as cancer. Many are plagued by a past that prevents them from moving forward. Many mourn the loss of a loved one. Many worry about getting by each day without sufficient economic resources. Many agonize about which way to turn when the right path is unclear. Each of us faces issues that can suck the life out of us - physically, mentally, and emotionally - in the same way cancer does.
As we struggle to find solutions to life's problems, we are often paralyzed by constant worry and focus on them, leaving us exhausted and lacking hope, which leaves us in a fragile state, unable to face and overcome them. While difficult to do, in the midst of these struggles, if we take time to consider what is good and well, no matter how trivial it may seem - the blue sky, the singing birds, the passerby who says 'Hello,' the food to eat, the bed to sleep in - and to be thankful for these things, our souls can again be filled with the ability to overcome adversity and move forward. Gratitude is a powerful force.
My dear friend was recently diagnosed with cancer. While she is not a member of my family, and therefore the answer to the question, "Was anyone in my family diagnosed with cancer today?" is still 'No,' given that she is my dear friend, the appropriate answer seems more like 'Sort of.' I have been counting my blessings, knowing that my issues are not as significant as are hers. Of the blessings I am counting, my family and friends are front and center. I know that to be true for my friend, as well. In addition to the tremendous medical treatment she will be receiving, it is the love she is feeling that is helping her overcome this most devastating of issues. Seeing the impact gratitude can have in the face of one of the most terrifying situations life can throw at a person, is further evidence that it works, in my opinion.
When life's problems, no matter how seemingly insurmountable, consume you, take a moment to be grateful for all that is good, so that your heart and soul may be filled with the power gratitude brings to overcome anything.
Note: I have personally found gratitude to be a tremendous healer, and practice expressing my gratitude daily. Recently, a reader posted a comment regarding the importance of expressing gratitude in response to one of my posts. I felt the need to write about this important daily practice immediately. I hope you find it as effective as we do. Please accept my gratitude for your interest.
author of "JOY"