As I wrote my entry yesterday, I was clearly frustrated and feeling slightly overwhelmed. I think that's why I forgot something that I had meant to share. Something that I found fairly significant, at least for me.
At the school I have the privilege to work in, I see daily examples of people doing things that I consider "above and beyond." When I mentioned this to the principal, she just replied, humbly, "I don't consider it going above and beyond. I consider it doing my job. I don't want any obstacles to get in the way of these families getting the chance they need." Inspirational in and of itself.
Taking this philosophy to heart, I offered to accompany the principal to the hospital to meet with a parent to sign intake paperwork. The parent is quite ill, and the kid is having a rough go of it and needs help. As we boarded the elevator, a tall man, just a bit older than myself, joined us. He grinned and said, "How are you all doing today?" We murmured that we were doing well, then the principal politely returned the question. Without hesitation, this cheerful man said, "I'm really good. In fact, I'm great every day. Life is a choice!" With that, we were at our stop, and parted ways.
As I donned my surgical mask to enter the parent's room, it stuck in my mind. Life IS a choice. We will all have struggles. Things will not always go our way. But in the midst of all that, we can CHOOSE to find joy and laughter. We can CHOOSE to focus on the positive things.
The parent I was meeting with to sign paperwork had just had a treatment. She was clearly in pain and exhausted, but insisted on doing every bit of the intake, including the long comprehensive interview/history, even when I offered to complete it with another family member instead. She CHOSE to work through the pain and exhaustion for the love of her child, and the hope that her child would get the needed help.
Some days, I know I don't choose to be happy. Some days, I choose to wallow in my own self pity, thinking of the things I don't have, drowning in unfulfilled wishes and impossible dreams. But I am determined now to find things every day to be thankful for, to be happy about, to laugh at. Because without laughter and joy, life is empty. And I choose a full life.