There have been a lot of thoughts running through my head lately; lots of frustration and sorrow and surprisingly some joy. Pretty mixed emotions, to say the least. But mostly I've been frustrated with people complaining. We tend to complain about things a lot. It may sound like something as simple as: "My day was uneventful; I'm bored; nothing exciting happened today." What I wouldn't give to be able to say those things about the past couple weeks. I'd be glad to be able to say those things. Now, don't get me wrong, I think venting is important so we don't let negativity fester and build up and cause more stress and there are plenty of legitimate reasons to complain in this life. But when someone complains in a way that makes it sound like the world is coming to an end or their life is over, that's when I get frustrated. I understand, I know I've said things like that in the past and I've claimed to feel that way. I used to feel like that all the time and not want to go on living over the smallest thing, but recently my life was put into perspective and I have a problem with saying things like that and feeling like that now. When your car won't start, when the person you like doesn't like you back, when you sleep through your alarm and are late for work or school, get cut off driving, hate your job, get cheated on, beat up, broken up with, life hands you lemons in any way shape or form, when you think you couldn't possibly handle any more heartache, I assure you that your life is absolutely NOT over. I know there are things that make you feel like that, and I know you're going through a list of things in your head right now that you think contradict what I'm saying and you're probably offended. That's not the point of this post. I just want to share the perspective I've gained with you.
Last week my family's lives came to a screeching halt. My brother's wife was pregnant with twin boys and by February we were going to have our 15th grand-baby/niece/nephew. She went into pre-term labor on October 20 and held out miraculously until October 25 when both babies were born and died after only an hour of living and suddenly our lives weren't so filled with hopefulness. If anyone has a good reason to feel like their lives are over and give up it's my brother and his wife. But they reacted the opposite way. They look at this tragedy as a reason for living, a reason to love each other more, a reason to live righteously so they can be with their sweet boys again. They are my heroes. My brother said something on his blog that I want to share with you:
"What's your worst fear? Most people are afraid of a lot of things: public speaking, spiders, water, heights, failure, the opposite sex . . . I've only ever been afraid of one thing: my family and loved ones getting hurt...
At 7:42 a.m. on October 25, 2010, the unthinkable happened. My worst fear punched me right in the face. I stared down my worst nightmare...
Funny how life slaps you in the face. At 7:42, the most bittersweet moment of my life...Julie and I had decided that we weren't going to have the doctors try to resuscitate our boys. We knew they weren't going to make it and we wanted them to spend what little time they would be alive by being held in our arms; not lying on a table with tubes and pumps and probes.
Benson and Lincoln came into this world together, and they left together. At 8:30 a.m. on October 25, 2010... our boys were gone. Even though we knew it was coming, Julie and I both broke down. It was absolutely the worst moment of my life...
I had an epiphany yesterday. I realized that I've been through hell... I've faced my absolute worst-case scenario. And you know what? I'm still here. I'm still Jeffrey. I still have my sense of humor. And I'm still going to change the world.
I realized yesterday that once you've faced your worst nightmare and broken through it, there's only one direction to go: UP.
There is pretty much nothing that could ever happen to me that could possibly be worse than the loss of my twin boys. But I've learned that no matter what happens, no matter how bleak the outlook becomes, there is always hope. It's always my choice. It's always going to be okay. And I can always go UP."
I don't think there is anything worse in the world than losing a child, let alone two and at the same time. It would be so easy for my brother and his wife to just give up, but they haven't. They instead are blessing other people's lives and truly changing the world. I know they've changed mine. The faith my brother and his wife have showed through this obviously difficult time is an inspiration. I'm still going to complain, I'm still going to get upset, I'm still going to give into human nature and make mistakes, but I'm going to try a lot harder not to and I will never again let myself feel like my life is over, because it's not. This has been a really hard time for my whole family. It's not easy and each day is an emotional battle, but we're going to get through it. Like Jeffrey said, it's always going to be okay. In their one hour of living, my sweet nephews Benson and Lincoln changed my life forever. I'm sad I didn't get to meet them, but I'm going to change my life and be the best me I can so I will get to meet them. I know they're watching over me and all of my family and helping us through. I hope everyone can find such a strong motivation to be their best. I hope everyone can find something to hope for even in the darkest times. I hope everyone can find joy even in the most tragic circumstances because there is always a reason to be your best, there is always a reason for hope, and there is always a reason for joy. I pray that everyone can find those reasons and live for them.