“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more.
If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”
– Oprah Winfrey
This time last week it was our third day in Dell Children’s Hospital and we were hopeful that the day ahead of us would look better than the ones before. Early that week, what resembled a sunburn on Durant (our three and a half year old son) turned out to actually be a rare toxin released from a staff infection that caused ‘Scalded Skin Syndrome.’ The last our pediatrician had seen this in a patient was twenty years ago, so you can imagine how scary it was when teams of doctors were entering our room to examine Durant and the sores that had developed on his little body. To say we felt like a spectacle isn’t an exaggeration. The medical staff wasn’t sure when they would see this uncommon infection again, so to them it was an intriguing educational opportunity. One emergency room doctor even asked us if he could snap a few pictures of our poor little guy. We knew he meant well, and while we accepted his offer with a weary smile, we were panicked.
Thankfully, with the combination of prayers, amazing doctors and nurses, around-the-clock antibiotics and a strong and resilient child whose only wish is to wake up every morning and be a ninja turtle, we were released on Monday afternoon. Durant is now as good as new, and as Amy Younkman so perfectly stated, it is us, his parents, who are left with the mental and emotional scarring and fatigue. But as any parent would say, we’ll take emotional scarring any day if it means our children are healthy and happy.
Despite both Russell and I being truly terrified and having to hide our tears in an effort to not worry Durant, so much beauty arose from our experience. With the power of prayer being paramount, we are beyond grateful for Dell Children’s Hospital. It is a superior operation layered with purpose and intention. From the toys delivered to each precious patient, to the art on the walls, we felt an infinite sense of hope, love, and joy during our stay. One such photograph in our hallway said it all.
The photograph shown above of the happily running Ethiopian children was taken by Lynne Dobson. It is titled ‘Boundless Joy,’ and it actually hung just down the hall from Durant’s room. Upon seeing it, we were instantly inspired and reminded that despite unpleasant and frightful circumstances which we most often can’t control, we can control our response, and the goal is boundless joy. When life feels unfair, too hard and out of control, the goal is boundless joy. When school starts, traffic gets more awful, and homework and activities pile up, the goal is boundless joy. When work deadlines seem impossible, family, friends and co-workers disappoint us and our health fails us, the goal is boundless joy.
I know there are times when complaining feels necessary and venting is essential to getting through and past difficult and challenging situations, but if the children in this photo can have so little materially yet be so joyful, surely with all we have, our joy can be boundless too. But we have to be intentional to make that happen.
So, as we launch our fall season (yeah!!), let’s make it our goal to demonstrate, live out and give boundless joy. The results will be nothing short of amazing and like a movement, much like the viral and awesome Ice Bucket Challenge to raise awareness for Amyotrophic Lateral sclerosis (ALS). Ice Bucket Challenges are not new, though this particular one was initiated by Pete Frates, and has taken off. As of yesterday the ALS foundation has raised $62.5 million, which is $58.5 more than raised this time last year. Anything is possible, even a change in perspective and attitude, but if you need to throw a cold bucket of ice water on your head to get your ‘boundless joy’ blood flowing, by all means watch the video below, be inspired and go for it!
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- How to Have Joy in 30 Days
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- Live Forward