Every January, I reflect on what I want to have more of in my life, or experience in a new way. This year, my three-word theme is based on some recent lessons that were presented to me when pneumonia won out in a two-month battle over my lungs, and I landed in the hospital the week before Christmas. I knew, intellectually, that I had to be there for treatment with antibiotics, respiratory therapies, bed rest, blood tests, and eventually a bronchoscopy to help clear my lungs. Emotionally, I was frightened and worried. Physically, I was quite sick and very weak.
When you find yourself fighting for every sip of air, you become very grateful for the simple act of breathing freely and automatically. So, I found myself expressing gratitude for every breath, every act of kindness from my family and friends, and the capable medical staff attending to me. In the middle of the long, lonely nights in the hospital, I found peace by tapping into my faith in a Higher Power. My fear dissipated as I reflect on God’s presence and power to heal. When in that space, my breathing eased as my body relaxed and quit fighting the reality of my situation. I just accepted where I was, in the moment, and found the good in that.
During my four days in the hospital (which seemed like weeks), I began to see my nurses, doctors, and technicians as my allies. I connected with them as an engaged patient (for better or for worse…I ask a lot of questions), and saw them as caring, competent, and human. Humor can usually be found in just about any given situation, so we were able to share quips, laughter and some running jokes (such as my planned escape, using bedsheets to climb out of my fourth-floor window). I took time to learn about my caregivers, their families, outside interests and passion for their work. Sharing that connection, seeing them in a different light, brought me joy. It became a cycle of gratitude, peace, and joy…repeated over and over.
This year, my intention is to step into gratitude, peace, and joy with my whole being. In my personal and professional life, I want to embody those ways of being. Thus, my 2019 theme is “Grateful, Peaceful, Joyful!”. If I can support you in crafting and living out your own theme, please ask. It would be an honor to walk alongside you in that exploration.
Sharon Keys Seal