Standing in the room, looking through the transparent door, I see a little girl. She smiles sweetly at me. She looked as if she were 3 or 4 years old. I put my hands on my knees and bent over, as if to say, hello, I’m your friend. She stood there, smiling at me. I waved to her. She continued to smile. I motioned for her to come through the door. The shy, sweet little girl stepped towards the transparent door and laid on the floor. She grasped the long handle with her feet and pulled the door open. The tot popped up onto her feet and scurried into the room where I was standing.
I was amazed. She had no arms. She was so happy.
This is why I love working with children.
She was born without arms. She never had them, so she never missed them. Life was great without arms.
When adults have arms, then lose them, they remember what they can no longer do. They can no longer play the guitar, or open jars the way they used to. They have to learn a new way. Not only is there a physical battle going on, but a mental one as well. Depression sets in. There is so much looking back with adults. What they’ve lost versus what they never had.
So, which is better: losing something or never having it?
I would argue that both circumstances can be turned into something wonderful.
If we have something that is valuable to us: a child, eyesight, a car, kidneys that work, a loving husband, a warm house- be grateful, daily. If we never had the aforementioned blessings, life is indeed harder and may involve external resources such as dialysis, a seeing eye-dog, a homeless shelter, the government. These external resources are also blessings and will help sustain life.
What this really boils down to is happiness and fulfillment. Could we be fulfilled and full of joy as a bilateral amputee? Could we be happy and love life as a burn victim?
In both circumstances, we can not only survive, but thrive. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matt 5:3. When we acknowledge that we can not do it on our own, when we dump our pride and ask God for His help, the kingdom of heaven is revealed to us, in us. We see changes in our attitudes, in our minds and we no longer look longingly to the past, but enjoy the present and look forward to the future. We can thrive if we have it all, or if we have very little. It’s all attitude.
Can one be happy and homeless? Can one be merry with malignancy?
By ourselves, we are prone to looking at the glass as half empty, prone to looking at imperfections and flaws. Prone to depression, competitiveness and jealously. But if we have God’s spirit in our lives, we can rise above this. We don’t have to look at things the way the world sees it. “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2
So, are you so full of love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness and faithfulness that it bubbles out of you. Or do you focus on what you don’t have with a victim mentality?
Be the best you that you can be with what you have.
“True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient, for he that is so wants nothing. The greatest blessings of mankind are within us and within our reach. A wise man is content with his lot, whatever it may be, without wishing for what he has not.”