Gratitude…that has been the name of the game for the last several weeks. Most of the time we find ourselves grateful for when life is rolling right along and everything is going our way. To the contrary, I am currently witnessing a great friend live in gratitude while being dealt the worst news of his young life. This friend has been diagnosed with cancer on the eve of his 41st birthday.
You may know this friend…he is my co-worker of seven years, Spencer. In the face of this battle with cancer, a battle that so many of us would face with anger, resentment or self-pity, I have witnessed Spencer begin this battle in gratitude. He isn’t grateful to have cancer, but rather he is grateful for the circumstances, tools, and people in his life that will allow him to fight this battle fiercely. He is grateful he will fight this battle instead of a loved one. He is grateful for the support he has around him that won’t let him fight this battle alone. He is grateful he has reasons to fight.
As for me…I am grateful to have the opportunity to watch Spencer be a shining inspiration to those around him during this difficult time. He reminds me to not face adversity with fear, but with gratitude. He reminds me that it is attitude, not actions or accomplishments, that makes a great man, father, leader, and friend. Spencer has been all of these things during the best of times. Now I get to watch him be so during the hardest of times.
I pass this story and my feelings towards it on to you for three reasons:
1.) I want you to keep Spencer, his wife, and two young daughters in your prayers;
2.) I want you to be as inspired by Spencer as I am; and
3.) I want to challenge you to face your adversities in gratitude.
As Mary, my wife, so eloquently said this past weekend…the importance is not what happens in our lives, but rather how we handle life as it happens to us. We are all faced with things in our life we didn’t ask for, deserve, or control. What exactly these things are is immaterial. Instead, our character is defined by how we decide to approach these challenges life throws our way.
When life gets rough, will you chose to live in fear, anger, isolation, confusion, and bitterness…or in gratitude? I promise you that single attitudinal choice will do more to determine the outcome of your battle than any other action.