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Grateful for Pain

November, 2013 will be one where I will pause to write and share what I am thankful for.

The difficulty in writing, however, is that there is so much for which I am grateful. I have always been grateful for my family. I am thankful for the gifts I have been given. I’ve been given the love of my life, for which I am eternally grateful.

Being thankful, however, requires you and me to move beyond the things, such as food, shelter, and clothing. My gratefulness is much deeper. I am thankful for the many experiences I have had which have allowed me to become who I am today. Whether they’ve been initially painful or joyous, each helped me become somebody greater than I could have imagined.

Today, I’m thankful for the painful experiences. I am thankful for being born with cerebral palsy, because it taught me to be aware of every person’s handicap. I am thankful for losing my father at such a young age, for it allowed me to help others who are without one or more of their parents. I am thankful for being fired at work, for it pushed me to be a better professional. I am thankful for divorce, for I learned to be more open and honest in what I craved In a love relationship.

Gratitude can come from pain just as much as joy. I have learned that even pain brings growth. Growth makes me greater than I ever imagined I would be. For all those painful experiences, I am thankful.

When you know, you just know…

When you know, you just know…

Those words resonated in my mind and soul when I read them in Jaimal Yogis’ book, The Fear Project. The Yogis proposes our feelings of fear are a natural part of who we are. Just as the phrase clicked with him, it had for me, in a new relationship which began through what we believe are mere “chance encounters.”

For the remainder of the day, I replayed the phrase until it became a mantra. For me, there is a knowing sense built in you, allowing you to know something, beyond doubt, with absolute certainty. You may call it intuition. Others may call it a gut feeling. Regardless of the name you call it, this knowing sense is something we usually minimize and dismiss it, as a matter of habit.

Think about it, you’ve had use of this knowing sense today. When you opened your eyes, gathered your bearings, and began your day. You collected information which became the foundation of what believed your day might become. Your knowing grows and rewires your brain each day. Within seconds, you know what day you might expect.

Your knowing sense comes at various times. Your knowing comes during various experiences in your own unique journey. I “just knew” letting the phrase resonate within me for a couple of days would help me point to how much I know about myself and my experience. I’ve decided to give up the fight. I am resolved to let my knowing sense guide me, without questioning it.

I want to share just some of what I “just know.”

I just know…

…I was meant to be the person I am today.
…I am blessed to have grown up with the challenges I have been given.
…I am gifted with the ability to help others make sense of their feelings.
…I am gifted with the ability to write and share how I feel.
…I will be a better Dad then I am with each day.
…every day is a gift.
…I instantly fell deeply in love with Christine.
…I am meant to continue the rest of my life with Christine.
…you are a tremendous soul that just happens to have a body.
…regretting yesterday is a waste of time.
…worrying about tomorrow is a waste time today.
…living in this very moment is the only thing we can really do.
…I am meant to help you get from where you are to where you’d like, a seeing-eye dog and coach, while on your journey.

Think about it…When you know, you just know.

I’m here for you on your journey.

In Peace,

Kevin

A Life-Changing Event

My life has changed many times.

There was cerebral palsy, losing Dad in the Vietnam War, Marriage, birth of each child, new jobs, Divorce, kidney stones, and Christine.

Each change brings me to a new road in my journey. I am never sure which way the road will take me.

This past Wednesday night, I learned the next road I am to travel down. After coming home from watching my daughter play tennis, I began feeling pain in my right chest and weakness in my right arm. With much prodding, I finally gave in to Christine’s instance that we call 9-1-1. Within 12 hours the hospital would run a myriad of tests to find that I had a heart attack.

The hardest phone call I’ve ever had to make was calling Christine at 7:30 the next morning, letting her know I did indeed have a heart attack and they were moving forward with a heart catheter surgery that very morning.

I heard the panic in the voice of Christine and my family. Everyone encouraged me. I felt the weight of what was happening. At 45, I had a heart attack and had to go into surgery to repair blockages in my system. Christine, Mom, and my sister, Moira, were first to the scene. They surrounded me with love, care, and concern. Within minutes my panic switched to reassurance that I was going to be fine.

I put my life in the hands of two doctors and a team of nurses. They would find three blockages in the arteries leading to my heart – 30% in one, 90% in the second, and 99% in the third. They inserted stents into the two most blocked arteries. I was awake through it all, in pain as the catheter slid up my arm and into and around my heart. One hour later I was repaired and dealt with an intense migraine headache.

Since then, I have experienced the love, care, and concern from my family and close friends. I also experienced how deep a love Christine and I have. We were scared together. We cried together. She didn’t leave my side. Our love has gotten deeper every day. Through this experience, our relationship has grown stronger. As I head down this road to a new life, I am reassured knowing she will be my side.

While I don’t know exactly what is ahead of me on this road, I do know this…my health will improve through a better nutritional diet and exercise. I am more aware of my body and what I put into it. I will treat every day as a gift. I will approach my new job, as a child welfare caseworker, as my calling and take each challenge one by one.

I pray you don’t need the same experience in order to have your life-changing miracle. Watch what you eat, get exercise, and love this and every moment you’ve been given.

Thanks for your love, care, and concern. I’ll keep you posted on how and where my journey takes me.

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Young as Your Faith

General George MacArthur once said, “You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubts.”

Faith can be a large term that is difficult to touch or see. Instead, faith is an intangible confidence and support in something or person. Sometimes faith is not based on concrete proof. Faith can build through our experiences. Faith can mean many things to many people. Faith means something unique to you.

To me, faith is what I believe in, through countless experiences. I wanted to share just a few things I have faith in…

…each of my children – Kyle, Sean, Megan, and Jack. Each will make great and wonderful contributions to this world.

…my loving relationship with Christine. She has loved me unconditionally, supports me, encourages, and loves me from the bottom of her heart.

…the power of God, His Son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit in my life. I know He is in charge and has great things in store for myself and each of us.

…in my ability to help encourage, guide, and lead anyone from where they are to where they want to be.

…that any challenge I experience will bring me to a stronger and much better place than where I am right now.

…that worry is absolutely pointless. Worry robs me of the moment I am in, wastes time dwelling in the past, and defies a myth in being able to control my future.

…in you, whomever you are. You have strengths, skills, and abilities that will help you experience happiness, joy, and love each day.

I am on a journey. That journey is life. Without faith, I would be walking forward paranoid about the trauma and dilemma ahead of me.

I invite you to walk along your path with faith in yourself, those around you, and the greatness the future holds for you. I encourage you to grow in what you have faith in. Share your thoughts and experiences with the rest of us.

My Ideals

Just as General MacArthur challenged us to hold on to our ideals, I have taken time to refine what i refine as important ideals in my life.

My ideal relationship with God is one of a best friend. I know He is there with and supporting me through each day, not just when i am in crisis. He has been there every time I’ve needed him. He continues to be there for me, even when I fail to remember Him.

My ideal love relationship is with Christine. She is my best friend and love. She supports, encourages, and loves me, without fail. She accepts me for who I am, with all my faults, failings, and blunders. In turn, I am happy to support, encourage, and love her. My daily goal with Christine is to make her feel happy and loved.

My ideal role and relationship with my children as a Father. Although their mother and I failed to provide a loving and committed relationship for them, my ideal is to be in contact with them daily. I will continue to be supportive, encouraging, and loving them for who they are as they become the best version of themselves.

My ideal role as a professional is to provide direction, encouragement, and support in helping individuals, families, and organizations get from where they are to where they want to go. Ideally, that will be as a counselor, teacher, writer, and motivator.

My ideal role in work is to be a quiet leader. While not drawing attention to myself, I will learn what is needed for the organization and move forward in becoming the best professional in that role.

My ideal is to build and continue growing friendships with a close knit group of individuals, while being open to supporting, encouraging, and loving other friends in my life. I will reach out to those in need, through supporting and encouraging them in their happy and trying times.

My ideal in family is to support, encourage, and love my mother, siblings, and their families.

My ideal of the world is that we remember that we are together on this globe. We are not here to defeat or go against each other. We have a limited amount of resources and time together. We are not that much different from each other. We will realize and use our strengths to save our future together.

Staying Young while Growing in Age

General George MacArthur once said,

Youth is not entirely a time of life; it is a state of mind. Nobody grows old by merely living a number of years. People grow old by deserting their ideals. You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubts; as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear; as young as your hope, as old as your despair.”

I am moved by General’s quote. If nothing else, MacArthur reminds us how we grow older than our age. If we give up on those things we hold as perfect, we age. If we give into our doubts, we become older than we are. When we let fear hold us back, we lose the experience of life. As long as we hope in what our day is and what the future holds for us, we do not age.

This week I will revisit my ideals, my faith, my self-confidence, and my hopes. I will contrast them from when I was a young kid to what they are now. I invite you to do the same.

Doing so will remind yourself of the ideal relationships you have with your loved ones, your co-workers, and your business. Focus yourself on what you have faith in. Map out things for which you are self-confident. List all the things you hope for in your day, week, month, years, and beyond. These will become the values and ethics in which to live by.

The Price of Worry

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat [or drink], or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they? Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?” – Matthew 6:24-26

Matthew writes of a lesson Jesus gives thousands of years ago. Yet, how many of us have wasted time worrying? We worry about paying the bills, how to help our children, our jobs, and how to fix things in our lives.

I’ve learned many things over my life time. My most valuable lessons have come from family, friends, faith, and even my dog.

Family taught me to endure through trying times. Friends have taught me the value of support through tough times. My faith reminds me how much God is in control of the direction in my life. My dog teaches me the happiness in every day, the art of play, the wonder of adventure, and the importance of living in the moment.

The price of worry is costly. Worry lets you stay in the past with regret. Worry lets you waste time in what the future may be. Worry robs you of this very moment. Worry doesn’t change yesterday and won’t control tomorrow.

I’ve learned to stop worrying about much. I’m going to live every single moment in my life span. I invite you to join me.

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