A New Perspective to Shift Your Morning Mindset
Updated: Dec 14, 2019
I cried because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet. – Helen Keller
It was 6:30 in the morning. I was sitting in the waiting room at Mayo Clinic, anticipating when they would call my name. I was there for my daily radiation treatment. This was the new way I started each day.
I thought of my family back home; my husband was probably getting the coffee made, organizing his work for the day, and preparing breakfast before waking our son. They would eat together and then maybe read a book before changing cloths to head out the door.
It occurred to me that I would be fried by an invisible laser beam before they even took their first bite of eggs. And I thought, how did I get here? How is this my life right now?
I should be sleeping in my own bed. I should be helping my husband with our morning routine. I should be kissing my son good-bye before leaving for work.
I was “shoulding” all over the place when my self-pity was shattered by a family who walked through the door.
The mom was leading the way. She was pushing her sleeping baby in a stroller and wearing a diaper bag on her back. Behind her, a little girl, about the age of three, was holding her dad’s hand, dancing and hopping around like toddlers do. And trailing behind them was their son who looked to be about seven. He was wearing a baseball hat. But I could still see that he had no hair.
This little boy was there for treatment. It wasn’t either of his adult parents who had cancer. It was him. And this was their morning routine. For how many weeks, I didn’t know. But even one day of this was too much.
Their reality slapped me in the face. Here I was discouraged by my own situation and then my entire outlook was altered with just one look at this family of five warriors. I wasn’t concerned about myself anymore; I was focused on them.
I sat there wondering how early these parents must have woken up to start this nightmare. I imagined how hard it must have been to wrangle three kids before 6 am especially in preparation for one of them to receive radiation. I wondered if their infant was sleeping through the night yet; if there toddler was able to dress herself at all; or if their son fought waking up so early.
Because what I know about life is that it doesn’t stop to give you a break. Even if you really need it. Even when you or your child has cancer. Babies still wake up at night; toddlers still throw tantrums; and kids don’t want to do what they’re asked.
I prayed for the little boy and hoped his prognosis was good. Then I watched his mom. She held her head high and confidently put one foot in front of the other as she led her family to start another day in the worse way imaginable.
I recognized this prideful, brave walk. But I also recognized the fearful, dazed look in her eye. I was sure by the end of the day she would collapse from carrying herself with such dignity. But for now, she was doing what she had to do for her family; moving forward one step at a time.
They were in and out of my life in less than 30 seconds. But they made a lasting impact on my perspective that I use every day.
Especially when nothing seems to go right; maybe my alarm didn’t go off or I spilled coffee all over my car or my son wouldn’t put on his shoes without a fight. It’s during these times I think of that strong family and I remind myself these things are not so bad. They’re just a part of life; of having kids; of waking up to start another day.
This story is not meant to make you feel guilty that your own challenges can’t compare. I know problems are relative.
Or suggest that you rise like the sun, beaming and grateful for every moment and never waste a second of your life. I know this isn’t possible.
But I am hoping this story will inspire you. I’m hoping you can draw strength from another’s experience. I’m hoping it provides you with a new view outside of your own life.
This is how you expand your perspective. And this is important.
Because how you see the world, influences how you live in the world. Eventually your perspective will turn into actions. And if your perspective is focused on compassion for others, you’ll probably start making the world a much better place.