Friends Waiting on the Other Side

It has been two years since a dear friend of mine finally lost his battle with cancer.  Rare is the day that I don’t think about him and the beautiful mark he left on this world.

It has been nearly 20 years since his older brother took his own life, also leaving this world far too soon.

I think the thing that sucks most about getting older is that this list, which I have shared only a small part of, keeps getting longer.  While it sucks to lose the ones we love, how blessed are we to have known them here, and to know that we will see them again.

I know with all my heart that the people we love and cherish are on the proverbial “other side” awaiting our reunions with equal excitement.  It is not that either of us hope we end this mortal journey early, simply that the love we have for each other extends beyond the bounds of phyisical life, and rests in the deepest parts of our souls.

While it is true that love can be described through Neuro chemical reactions, there is a spiritual dimension that, while we don’t understand it, has a much more lasting affect on our relationships.  The joy that we experience with those special people in our lives is something that cannot be explained with words because it is truly beyond our mortal comprehension.

I guess this is just a really long way of saying I miss my friends and family that have already left this mortal world, and I look forward to the day where we will again be reunited.

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Hope is Often What Keeps Me Going

Life can be really hard sometimes.  

When we get really sick we don’t want to do anything but sleep until we get better.  When we struggle financially we often don’t see anyway to improve our situation.  When we struggle with problems at school or work, it can be easy to want to quit or at the very least pursue an easier course even if it isn’t what we really want.

Hope changes all of that.

Hope is amazing because it doesn’t have to be big, it just has to be a tiny glimmer to make a big difference.  

When I was a teenager I did a lot of backpacking in the Uintah mountains in Utah where it rains quite a bit during the late summer.  It was not uncommon for us to go multiple days without seeing the sun.  

At those times it was easy to get down and not enjoy the incredibly beautiful areas we were hiking through.  Not to mention that the fishing also generally sucks when it is rainy like that. 

But then there would be a break in the clouds to let some sun through and everything changed.  You were instantly happier and more optimistic about everything.  Even the whiniest scout would start to smile and enjoy themselves.  

That little bit of sun didn’t always lead to bluebird skies, and sometimes it closed right back up and went back to raining, but what it did was give you hope.  It reminded you that the warm sun was still up there and it would come out again.

Sometimes that is what we need in life to help get us through.  We need a restful night of sleep where we start to beat off a sickness.  We need an unexpected $100 that gives us a cushion we didn’t expect to have. We need a problem to go away through finding a solution or having someone else find one for us.

Sometimes all we need is someone to tell us it is going to be okay and that they are there for us.  Whatever it is, that hope is life changing, and in some cases life saving.

I lost a dear friend when I was a junior in high school because he had lost all hope in his life.  I have spent the last 19 years trying to figure out what I could have done to give him some hope so that maybe I would be there to save someone else the next time I have a friend who has lost all hope.  

That’s the awesome thing about hope, it is always out there.  There is always a reason to be optimistic.  There is always some way that our life can improve, and there is always something we can do about it.  

It is easier when we have friends that can lift us up, but we can lift ourselves up as well.  We can decide not to let fear and doubt win.  We can choose to look for the good no matter how small it may be, because there is always good out there.

Life is really hard, and for some people it is extra hard, which totally sucks.  I am grateful for the people in my life that give me hope, and I pray that I can be the one to give others hope when they need it.

Love

I don’t have a lot of deep thought to go with my gratitude tonight, only the fact that love conquers all.

No matter how hard we think life is or how much we struggle the love of a Heavenly Father can, and will, get us through.

Some days there is not much else I know in the world, but tonight I am grateful for love.

What are you grateful for?

Some Thoughts

I have been at this gratitude thing for 50 days now and at the risk of showing gratitude twice in one day, I had some thoughts I wanted to share.

As I believe I said in my very first post, I really am doing this for me.  It is something I had thought about for probably almost a year until I finally started doing it.  I really just wanted to make sure that I was taking time to realize all of the great things I have to be grateful for in my life, because sometimes it is super hard to see them.

Today I had a coworker say she enjoys seeing my posts which really made me happy because I love to do things that provide value to other people.  It has been interesting to see how people have responded over the last 50 days.  It has been generally positive, with only one frustration filled bout of anger at me.

Personally, I think I am happier now than I was 50 days ago, and that is despite having to be without my family for awhile.  I think I am generally more optimistic than I was before, and as I mentioned in my last post, I generally have more hope for my life in general.

I know there are tons of books and such out there that talk about the power of positive thinking and other such topics, and while this was not brought on by reading such a book, I can testify to the value it has brought to my life.

I won’t tell you that you should do this too, because it may not work for you.  What I will encourage you to do, is to find a way to find more hope and joy in your life.  Maybe it is writing something down everyday like I am doing, or maybe it is talking to a certain person who always seems to brighten your day.  I don’t know what will work for you, but I will promise you that if you put forth the effort to find the good in your life it will reap benefits.

We are so programmed these days for instant gratification and instant feedback, but those are not the things that provide the most value.  If we want to truly improve as people we have to be willing to put in the effort to change over time.  It will rarely come suddenly, but it will always be worth it.

I have also really enjoyed the few comments I have received both here and on Facebook of others expressing gratitude for things, and I would encourage others to share as well.  The most important connections we make in life are the emotional ones we make with the people around us, so please share your thoughts.

I am grateful for the improvements that I have seen in my life already and I look forward to what the future will hold.

What are you grateful for?

Hope

The whirlwind of emotions that is my life continues.  Yesterday I returned home from the states leaving my family behind for an unknown period of time.

Not knowing when we will be together again is probably the hardest thing about it.  I just really hate not knowing what is happening in my life and having it in someone else’s control.  

Then this afternoon I received some hope in the form of an email from my commander.  The application I submitted a month ago to move where I will eventually end up one way or another has moved on to the last stage of the approval process.

After a month of absolutely no idea what was happening, it gave me a lot of hope that something is actually going to happen, hopefully quickly, to get me back together with my family.

The pessimist in me wants to say that it could still get denied and I will be stuck here another year, but both the optimist and realist in me say that this makes sense for everyone involved so it is going to go through.  

I know there are very few guarantees in this life, which is why I am always grateful for hope in actually getting what I want.

What are you grateful for?