Forget the glass. Look for the silver!

To some people the glass is half empty. To others it’s half full.

Then there are others who have the drive to say, “This isn’t the drink that I ordered,” and send the proverbial glass back for a new one.

Which person are you?

I’ve always considered myself an optimist who finds the best in the worst. Glass half full, right?

The other day I poured myself a bowl of cereal and when I went to the refrigerator, I quickly discovered the milk had expired the day before that other day. Rather than thinking this unfortunate turn of events damned the next 15 hours of my life – “This is going to be a terrible day!” – I was grateful that:

• I had cereal to eat in the first place

AND

• Instead of Wheaties, I had poured Frosted Mini-Wheats, which I easily could dump into a sandwich bag and conveniently eat dry on the way into the office.

How cool is that? Two goods from one bad! Glass half full? My cup overfloweth!

Optimism when facing harsh realities

So what happens when we’re not talking about something as simple as breakfast cereal and instead are dealing with harsher realities such as living with a major medical condition or are serving as the caregiver for a spouse or family member living with a chronic disease?

With Jennifer and me both having Multiple Sclerosis, is my glass always half full? Not always.

Even my keen sense of optimism is stymied when the wave of MS fatigue totally wipes me out at the end of some days. These are the days when the simple tasks of taking my self-injected shot of disease-modifying medicine and brushing my teeth before bed may as well be as monumental as performing acupuncture with enough needles to coat 10 porcupines and washing a 747 jet by hand with a bucket of soapy water and a sponge.

It’s even worse is when I can do nothing but watch my wife as she cradles her face and wince in indescribable pain following a zing of deep nerve pain triggered by her MS-induced trigeminal neuralgia. Or when she asks through tears what she did to deserve losing her ability to walk.

Yeah, I wish Jennifer and I both could send our glasses of MS back for new ones.

But I wonder if it’s at these moments that we are forced to look up to the heavens and ask God why the hell this stuff is happening to us. Indeed, what did any of us do to deserve the hands we’ve been dealt?

And, in looking up, is it then that we start to see the silver linings in the clouds?

I soon discover – even in the storm clouds – the silver linings that keep me going. I see beyond the fatigue and pain, and start to count my blessings that I have a great job to tire me out and a beautiful wife and marriage to relish for better and worse, in health and sickness.

In looking to God and up to the clouds for the silver linings, no longer are we focused on the limited half full and half empty glasses. We see then that our lives are part of something greater beyond what’s right in front of us.

Is your glass half empty or half full? How do you find the silver?

 

3 Responses to “Forget the glass. Look for the silver!”

  1. I love this post. It is beautiful and really speaks to who you and Jennifer are. But I would like to challenge you. I don’t think that the glass is half full or half empty. I think that if we look at it correctly it is overflowing. I too, am in a wheelchair, I have great pains almost every day and a variety of them, and a number of other MS induced challenges. I am not happy every 2nd of every day, but it is my MO and my heart is always filled with gratitude. From what I know about you two, your hearts are too. I would bet that if you think about it, your glass is overflowing also.
    Many hugs,
    Michael

    I wrote about this a few years ago and you can read it at http://mgerber.blogspot.com/2008/08/this-glass-half-empty-glass-half-full.html

  2. What a wonderful viewpoint of life. My husband has MS and is able to do very little for himself. I am his full time caregiver and I work a full time job. We have many struggles but our blessings far out weigh the challenges. May God Bless you with may years ahead of happiness and joy.
    Donna

  3. webster says:

    Dan, this is great post, and though you pppointed out some of the lousier aspects that MS has brought your way(s), you make a more important point which is that MS has indeed brought the two of you closer than you otherwise (likely) would be which is a truly FULL glass, in my opinion.

    Back to the milk … before you tossed it I hope you gave it just a wee taste. Dates can be fickle with food.

Leave a Reply