In my July 28th blog, I asked readers to send me answers to the following question: “What could I do instead of worrying? What might be some behaviors that would be more useful?”
I want to share with you a response from Missouri reader Joy Gilzow that touched my heart at a very deep level:
Instead of worrying, we pray and trust God…and plan celebrations. I was 20 weeks into my pregnancy and learned that my son was going to be born with half a heart. After his birth there would be a series of risky surgeries, 3 in all, at different stages of his young life. Of course we were devastated. At that moment I didn’t know, do we even plan a nursery? I cried all the way home and threw myself down on the bed and sobbed out to God. My son started kicking the stuffing out of me, as if to say, “I’m here! Don’t count me out!” I picked myself up and dried my tears. The next day I sent out a blue-background email, announcing that we were having a boy. It also explained his condition, asking people to please pray and telling them how blessed we were to have them in our lives. I spent the rest of that day shopping for my baby boy.
That was over three years ago.
Tomorrow night, in honor of having all three surgeries finally behind us, we are celebrating the milestone by going to an “Imagination Movers” concert. We’re getting to meet them backstage before the show. We haven’t told Blaze, who turned 3 on the 17th of July, that he gets to meet them; we’re going to let that part be a surprise.
Blaze is a happy, affectionate, mischievous little boy. He’s on the small side for his age, but he’s mighty, and expected to have a full, healthy life. He’s been growing like a weed since his final open-heart surgery last month. He gets to start daycare/preschool the end of August. No one looking at him realizes anything is “wrong.”
It hasn’t been easy, but it was totally worth it. Worrying would have defeated us. We celebrate and offer thanks. God is so good and answered the prayers that were raised up to Him. I am so grateful.
My favorite part of Joy’s story is when the yet-to-be-born Blaze started “kicking the stuffing” out of her. It makes me laugh and cry at the same time.
The best tip from Joy is “plan celebrations;” there are few better ways to Change Your Focus; Change Your Life. When you celebrate, you are putting your full attention on what you want. The more you celebrate, the more the things you want come your way. Blaze was born into celebration and look at all he’s accomplished in his short life? (How many three year-olds do YOU know that got to see the Imagination Movers, let alone meet them backstage? That, my friends, is the power of focus.)
All the happiness research coming out of such esteemed institutions as Harvard and University of Pennsylvania point to the fact that what actually makes us happy is significantly different than what we think. Additionally, what we think will destroy us rarely does. Initially, Joy was devastated. That word says everything. And yet, she was able to turn that initial reaction into a response: my boy is coming and I’m getting ready for him.
At the top of researchers’ lists of what makes us happy is “service to others” and Joy’s family has been of service to little Blaze since before he was born. All good parents are, of course, but there is a much keener awareness when a child is born with challenges. The family becomes primarily focused on a singular goal – the health of their child—and the ordinary problems that bug the rest of us fade into the background for them.
So the next time you are wasting time worrying about what might happen or is going to happen or DID happen, I want you to remember that big smile on Blaze’s face and ask yourself, “When I get to the other side of this, how will I celebrate?”
Many thanks to Joy for sharing this wonderful story. Please give Blaze a high-five from all of us. The Imagination Movers were lucky they got to meet him.