The Power in Perception

Earlier today while working at one of the private schools that I service, I couldn’t help but overhear a conversation that was taking place just outside the room. The school pastor was on the phone with what sounded like either a long-time friend or a family member. I could only hear one end of the exchange, but it was clear that they hadn’t spoken since before Hurricane Irma. The pastor was listing all the damages that his home suffered as a result of the storm, and yet he sounded completely calm and optimistic. At one point he said, “I won’t say that all material things are replaceable, because I realize that some things are not. But our lives and our loved ones are definitely more important and thankfully we are all okay.”

I’ve been incredibly stressed and overwhelmed over the past few weeks. After receiving some difficult news early this month and then incurring some unexpected hospital expenses (all while dealing with an awful sinus infection and Mason having Croup), having to prepare our home for Irma and ultimately deciding to evacuate because we knew the uncertainty of the storm would not bode well for our usual anxiety levels, being stuck in horrible traffic for over 14 hours, not being able to come home after the storm for 8 days waiting for power to be restored, and now being diagnosed with bronchitis – yeah, I haven’t been in the greatest mood.

Listening to that Pastor’s sincere and simple statement today was much needed.

Our part of town took an unexpected direct hit by a category 2 hurricane. There are many fallen trees and down power lines, but I can’t even imagine what might have resulted from a category 5 storm.

Things could have turned out SO much worse.

There are families in Houston still waiting for the flood waters to recede.

There are families in Mexico who’ve had their lives rocked by not one, but two catastrophic earthquakes.

There are families in the Caribbean bracing themselves for another category 5 hurricane, without anywhere to stay because their houses are in shambles after Hurricane Irma.

There are lives lost.

There are children left without mothers or fathers or both.

There are parents left without their child.

There are husbands and wives left widowed.

There are families left without shelter or food or clothing.

I get it, trust me. Not having power or cable or Wi-Fi royally sucks, but instead of focusing on how terrible our current state of affairs may be, maybe this time should serve to remind us of how great we usually have it. I for one am very guilty of being comfortable and taking that luxury for granted, when I should know better. The ONLY thing that is certain in this life is change – positive or negative- and life can flip upside down in an instant.

Our kick-ass neighborhood has a Facebook page where we are all able to communicate and update each other. It has been an excellent source of support after the storm. One neighbor posted something the other day that I just loved. She said our block didn’t need electricity to have “power” because it was already evident in the way we were supporting one another.

It’s not always easy – and sometimes it’s really damn difficult- to remember that we hold the power in our perception in any and every circumstance.

Dig deep.

Find your power.

Change your perception.

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Hurricane Irma granted me the opportunity to share my 31st birthday surrounded by my family.