by Joe Pellegrino
Isn’t it funny how so many times we can become so fixated with our own misfortunes that we neglect to remember it could be worse? While I’m sitting at my desk worrying about business or family issues, I am failing to recognize everything I am blessed with in that moment…i.e. I’m breathing. We like to focus on the things that get us down and in many ways, we allow those things to ruin our days, our relationships, even our lives. Meanwhile we forget that things can always get worse and that we need to be counting the blessings that we do have, no matter how barebones they seem.
I had an aunt who was the very impersonation of what I would consider “the worst.” Aunt Teddy was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis more than two decades ago. The arthritis destroyed her body in such a way that she was literally twisted. She was permanently bed-ridden and in constant pain. For the better part of 15 years, the only pure daylight she was able to see was on her rare visit to the doctors. Before her body started failing, she truly was a ray of sunshine herself to all those around her. Aunt Teddy shared everything she had, with joy.
Every holiday, my kids and I traveled to see Aunt Teddy. After climbing the steps of her two-family house, we would enter to find this poor incapacitated woman curled up on a recliner. Though she knew exactly who we were, we each found ourselves feeling the need to verbally confirm our presence. “Hey Aunt Teddy, its Joey.” Even as difficult as it was for her to see through her sickly disposition, there was always joy in her eyes when we came to visit her. But the one thing that always stuck out to me during our visits was her answer to the age-old question: “How are you doing?” She would always smile and reply, “It could be worse!”
Imagine that! Completely incapacitated, completely dependent and filled with pain, and still it could be worse! What an attitude to have. Aunt Teddy was one of the few people for whom I’d say it couldn’t get much worse. Yet still, there she was visit after visit declaring her blessings and claiming that things could be worse in such a way that salvaged the joy of her present state.
Think about it…
Today, right now, I ask you to think about all the things that are good in your life. Reflect on them and give thanks. You may say, “Joe, believe me there is nothing to smile about.” The fact that you still have breath in your lungs means that today is the day you can change your perspective. Hey, it’s a choice. You are not born as a winner or a loser; you are born a Chooser! Make the right one! Still need convincing? Google a gentleman named Nick Vujicic. If you, do I think you might feel differently.