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The Company I Keep #thesearethedays

I know I’ve talked about it before, but it’s been on my mind a lot lately.

I’m not much of a complainer. And I’d like to say there’s no particular reason, that it’s just the way I’m wired…and while that may be partially true, at the end of the day I think it has a lot to do with the company I keep.

optimistThe friends I have and the examples they are and have been. Through really big trials, with every reason to complain, they didn’t and don’t.

Case in point:

Maria: For weeks after her youngest child, 5 year old Shelby, passed away from Cancer, Maria drove to work blaring U2’s *Beautiful Day*.

me shelby nicole

                            Me, Nicole {7}, and Shelby {5}

Donna: When her daughter, Nicole passed away {at age 11} from Cancer, and I felt like I had missed out on more time with her {because I had}, Donna simply stated that it just meant more time for her. Something she was grateful for.

Morgan: A sweet 6 year old, who was battling Cancer, once said, *Mom, I love my feeding tube because then I can eat and play at the same time.*

Maternal Grandma: Her life was filled with all sorts of unfair experiences – and yet what all of us remember is her LAUGHING her way through every day. One time she returned to her vehicle in a parking lot to find a nasty note left about her parking job. Instead of getting angry, she started laughing that someone would WASTE their time to write the note.

Nigel: Passed away from Cancer in his early 20’s and at the funeral his journal was discussed. Regardless of the events of the day, each and every entry started with *Today was a good day*

Karma: A dear friend whose 4th child passed away at 16 months of meningitis – and yet the way she lives her life…the way she continues to help and give to others…you would never guess her heart carries such heaviness. She has since had 2 more boys.

A close friend {who will remain anonymous due to subject matter}: Despite spending time in an abusive relationship – one that really took it’s toll in a fairly short amount of time – she has risen above and made her life incredible. And her efforts to help others is inspiring.

Brent: My incredible husband. Even in the weeks that followed his dad’s sudden passing, he did not take his grief out on the kids, me, or anyone else. And since then, although the loss is great, he has managed to move forward, without complaint.

Mother in law: It’s only fitting to mention her. A woman who was widowed suddenly, while on holiday, and in what could have been the *prime* of their married lives….and although I know her loss runs deep, her days are not filled with complaints.

Josh: A dear friend of mine who passed away at age 15 {Cancer}. When his dad asked him once if he ever wondered *why me* he shrugged his shoulders and simply said, *why not me?*.

A close friend: Her husband left her for a co-worker and took up his role as a *deadbeat dad* of sorts. And she – one of the most incredible women I know has taken life on…made it the very best.

Aunt Kristy: Who lost a young daughter {10 months…to SIDS} and then years later, her husband {Cancer}….just found her way to carry on, always finding ways to laugh and things to be grateful for.

My mom: While I know my  mom has shed many tears over circumstances {yes her kids were the cause of many of those}, she never let it swallow her whole. She always got up and kept moving. Always.

The thing is this. I consider myself to be a compassionate person. I’m empathetic and my heart hurts at the anguish of others. I lose sleep when those I care about are struggling. But I actually have very little compassion for complainers. And I think it stems largely from this list….from those in my life who have had REAL hardships….REAL problems….and still….STILL…don’t complain their way through life. They are gracious, kind, helpful, and always looking for the good in situations. It’s for this reason I have difficulty spending extended periods of time with those who LOOK for reasons to complain. repetitively. Spending their energy finding things to be unhappy about. Ways to negate all the positive things in their life and instead focus only on those things that aren’t perfect or ideal.

fifty five

Sometimes our choices determine our circumstance

I almost can’t process it. I have seen so much loss, so much hardship – and yet those are the people who have shown me the most optimism and grace.

I feel incredibly fortunate to have those listed among the company I keep. I continue to meet and become close friends with people who live similarly. I don’t know how or why I have been blessed in this way – but I have an immense amount of gratitude for their examples.

Simply incredible.




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