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An attitude of gratitude

 I think it was Charles Swindoll who said, “ Your success or failure in life will not be determined by the number of setbacks you encounter, but rather how you react to them.”

The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day.  We cannot change our past, we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way, we cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one thing we have, and that is our attitude….I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.  And so it is with you – we are in charge of our attitude.”   

Wise words, words which bring us back to the Serenity Prayer’s “Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time, accepting hardship as the pathway to peace.”   Shortly after graduating from college, one of our church musicians had back surgery which left her permanently disabled and in constant pain.  Instead of becoming bitter, she focused on what she could still do…play the piano and wander the waysides taking amazing photographs of birds, wildlife, and fauna.  As a result she has brought incalculable pleasure to the rest of us by sharing her music and photos.

This spring she had shoulder surgery.  Unfortunately, history seems to have repeated itself,  Once again, a nerve was damaged.  As a result, while her shoulder is pain free and very usable, she has little use of her right hand as she does not have enough strength in that hand to hold her camera or to play the piano. Once an accomplished pianist, she now struggles to stretch her fingers enough to reach, let alone press down, on the keys.  Has she given up?  No way.  While understandably disappointed, she is determined to do everything she can to regain use of that hand again.   By coaxing tiny increments of movement and strength back into that hand she was finally able to play “Over the Rainbow” for us this past Sunday.  

The ultimate perfectionist who had refused to play or participate unless her performance was nearly perfect,  she played the entire piece using both hands.  Granted, it was anything but a polished performance. The tempo was too slow. There were stutters and stumbles and stops as she struggled to make her damaged hand obey her, but she refused to let the music to die.  When she was finished we gave her a tearful standing ovation!

“ Your success or failure in life will not be determined by the number of setbacks you encounter, but rather how you react to them”  

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