My blog posts are difficult, heavy topics, so I will try to put them in context. Please tolerate the following:
We met Metallica. I’ve mentioned this before, but just remember…we met METALLICA!
As members of the Coppell High School band, Austin and Trenton played Carnegie Hall and marched in New York City’s St. Patrick’s Day parade. Two sons playing Carnegie Hall at the same time - Priceless.
Allison has competed successfully on a large stage with thirty-six cheerleaders, and by herself on the smallest stage in the world – a four-inch balance beam.
TECHNICALLY, I have worked out with Hulk Hogan (you’re wondering, aren’t you?).
Valerie and I have cruised northern Europe and taken our kids to Italy. In fact, this blog post was written while on a yacht in the Caribbean as Val and I celebrated our thirtieth anniversary. Oh yeah, and a guy calling himself Richard Branson, claiming to own one of the islands we visited, welcomed us (If Branson eventually becomes a crotchety old man, I wonder if he will sit in a lawn chair and yell at the kids to get off of his beach).
I eat more than my share of rich food, red meat, wine, carbs, chocolate…
Did all the above feel like you were drinking from a Facebook firehose? I’m not bragging, (OK, I’m bragging A LOT, but) I’m sharing a few examples of the wonderful things that have happened to my family. We have had a good life. That, however, is the easy stuff. On Facebook, we can have the smartest kid, the fanciest food, and the most exciting and exotic vacations. It tends to be a focus on happiness. My blog posts on Still Thankful are hard, because I hope to inspire and provide insight on something bigger than happiness – meaning and purpose.
Torn between the wagyu and the tomahawk? Is it pasta on the Amalfi coast or a little hidden gem of a restaurant in Stockholm? I can help, but where’s the true value in that? I hope my stories give you clarity and balance the next time you or a loved one is in an ambulance; someone else can recommend thread count of the sheets on the stretcher.
A light went on for me a few years ago when reading “Man’s Search for Meaning,” by Dr. Viktor Frankl, psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor. In his book, Dr. Frankl recounted that prisoners of concentration camps were less likely to survive when they tried to be happy. Prisoners more often survived by feeling a sense of responsibility to someone else; they believed a family member or friend was in need and the prisoner was responsible for them. There was a purpose for them outside of the prison and they were “required” to survive for it.
Emily Esfahani Smith explains it well from her perspective. Emily, author of a new book entitled, ”The Power of Meaning” gave a TED talk which caught my attention earlier this year- “There’s more to life than being happy.” The description of Emily’s talk explains, “Our culture is obsessed with happiness, but what if there's a more fulfilling path? Happiness comes and goes…but having meaning in life -- serving something beyond yourself and developing the best within you -- gives you something to hold onto."
COULD BE WORSE
I joke that other people facing difficulty may find solace in saying, “Hey, it could be worse. At least we’re not the Carys.” In actuality, we’re good. Life's been good. We've had wonderful experiences with wonderful people. It’s just that when there is bad, it can be pretty bad, and that’s what I share, because that is where we can find true meaning. It's one thing to be thankful, but it's life changing after a tragedy when we can be Still Thankful.
P.S. Get ready, because I have more and would like to know about your thankfulness from challenges. Please contact me if you would like to share your story.