“Today is a day the Lord has made and I shall rejoice and be glad in it!”
I admit, I’ve never been an overly religious person, but the above statement always changes my perspective of the day that is ahead of me and I say it every morning when I wake up. Earlier this year I underwent surgery for something the doctors were not sure of. First, they were going to insert a camera into my body just above my naval and explore my insides to see if they could find the source of my pain and if they did, perhaps remove whatever it turned out to be. I had been suffering from severe pain in my abdomen for several months and didn’t know why. I was scared, to put it gently. They had already done every examination you can imagine, but could not find the source. As it turned out my appendix was 10 centimeters higher than where it is normally, and it had been infected many times. It turned out that what I had was chronic appendicitis, but because the pain was in an odd place it had not been considered. (Hey – I always knew I was different.)
The morning of my surgery I woke up more than just a little scared. I realized it could be my last day alive if things didn’t work out. My father never awoke from his last surgery and since then, I had always found ways not to be put under. I had the endoscopy and colonoscopy awake, because of my extreme fear of being put under anesthesia. That morning I took a little extra time in saying my statement of positivity. I just wasn’t buying into it at first. My fear felt overwhelming. But Joan, my wife, came over to me and said “You’re going to be okay.” If she had said that to me years ago, I would have blown her off refusing any positive influence, but I was an improved person from my years in therapy and realized how powerful believing good things actually is. And, for whatever reason I want to give it, her words of comfort made all the difference, even if there was no ‘proof’ that I was truly going to be physically ‘okay’.
Even when facing that which I feared the most, above ADHD, depression or PTSD, someone’s positive influence helped me overcome my fear. Joan didn’t know what they would find, or if I would really be ‘okay’, but what she was saying was that I had already done everything I could and by stepping past my fear, I would be okay, well able to handle whatever the surgeon found. And she was right. I felt better and whispered to myself one more time, more courageously and convinced “Today is a day the Lord has made and I shall rejoice and be glad in it!” That statement doesn’t mean that today everything is going to be perfect, that I’m not going to have problems, or that my ADHD isn’t going to make me trip, or even fall, but it is saying that I shall “rejoice and be glad”. You know why? Because, it might be my last day.
Each and every day might be our last and I personally have better things to do than worry about the worst of things, especially that which ‘might be’, to allow my condition or circumstances steal my happiness and outlook for a great day. No matter what comes before me, even being put under for an unknown illness, I will still rejoice and find a way to be glad. When I look back, there have been a lot of days about which I finally realized, that each and every one of them, even the ‘worst’ day, is a gift and I am more than glad to have had them, and each one that comes next, no matter the challenges I face or the obstacles in my way. The thing is – what if I do not have those days or if I didn’t have the previous days? I prefer to have had them and continue having them and acknowledge how precious they truly are.
You might be wondering what this all has to do with Steve Jobs?
When I heard this quote from him, I realized how important it truly was:
“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life” – “Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.”
“You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”
Again, it’s so important to remember that each and every day that we have is a gift. We can’t get any day back and we are extremely fortunate to have today.
Here’s another very important quote from his speech:
“Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because death is very likely the single best invention of life. It is life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new.”
And later, he counsels, “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
Life is hard enough, don’t let other people, your circumstances or situations steal your joy and happiness. This is the life we have, today, even if we have ADHD or any other condition, as terrible as any might be. There’s still so much we can do and be happy for. The alternative? No todays and no tomorrows. I do what I can now, today, because tomorrow is not guaranteed, so my choice is to rejoice and be glad in the day I have.
What is your choice? It’s truly up to you.
Every single day, I make it a point to say something positive and encouraging to someone, no matter how small or significant, regardless of any defeat or setback I personally might have had. It truly makes a difference. It did for me: “You’re going to be okay.” Thanks, Joan! It didn’t cure me, but it settled my nerves and calmed my fear, and sometimes that’s enough. What can you say or do to to help someone through a difficult time? Perhaps, just saying “I care.” is enough, not a cure, but maybe just enough to help calm the storm of fear and doubt, inside. We can all be a person who cares, sympathizes, empathizes and rises to better thoughts and treatment of others, and especially, for one’s self. I wish for you a great day, indeed, today.