“The mind that is open to a new idea never returns to its original size.”
~ Albert Einstein
Ahhh the summer! Such a wonderful time of year isn’t it? Summer is a time where the days are warmer, and a great time to rest, relax and reconnect with friends is on the agenda. Many people head out on family vacations to get away from it all and enjoy some much needed family bonding time. My family has an upcoming vacation getaway planned soon and I am greatly looking forward to it. As I anticipate this vacation, I cannot help but recall a past summer vacation adventure that clearly did not go as planned. A vacation to of all places Disney World in Orlando, the “happiest place on earth,” became a source of great stress and sadness at least for a while. I guess I should back up a bit and tell you the details of how this crazy adventure started and eventually played out.
O.K. here’s the scoop!
We had decided to take our two kids on an all inclusive vacation to Disney World in Orlando. Our packed agenda included hopper passes to check out all the parks, a room at a Disney resort, reservations at Cinderella's castle for dinner and the new Disney dining plan. To say we were very excited was clearly an understatement! Things were going great at first. Despite the intense August heat, we remained positive and motivated because we were at Disney World after all! The trip took a terrible turn for the worst on our third day there when we decided to visit Disney’s MGM Studios. We decided to separate our little group. Little did I know in hindsight how much I would regret that decision. My husband was going to take my son to a high speed car show and I could not wait to take my little princess Shannon, to The Little Mermaid ride. No sooner did we separate and the unthinkable happened! In my delight to find Ariel and Sebastian, I did not pay close attention to where I was walking. Fixating on the map in hand I quickly walked down what I thought was a ramp but it was instead a flight of stairs. Immediately my ankles buckled and I collapsed on the burning hot asphalt in a tangled, injured heap. A literal “hot mess,” I didn’t know what to do. My eight year old daughter was mortified and stared at me helpless in a panic. As my ankles were turning purple I struggled to get to my feet. Not an easy task I assure you! Paramedics were called and it was determined that I had not broken my ankles thankfully, but instead had soft tissue damage. I was given a complimentary wheelchair and strong advice to stay off my feet. How do you do that on a Disney vacation? Devastated, I could not believe I had done this to my family and I could not see how this vacation could ever be enjoyable from this point on. Quickly I realized however that I was at a serious crossroads. How I handled this situation would speak volumes to my family either way. I could complain and feel sorry for myself and make an already bad situation worse, or I could wipe my tears, take a deep breath and make the best of this unwanted scenario. I chose to do the latter. I refused to let my silly injury ruin the vacation that my kids had anticipated for months.
It is funny how things can take a turn for the better when you change your attitude. What is perceived as a stumbling block (no pun intended) can be a stepping stone if you allow yourself to look at a situation from a different angle. Aleve pain reliever became my new best friend and a wheelchair was provided for me at every park. At that time wheelchair parties went first on all rides so my injury actually gave us a fast pass for every attraction which made the intense heat and long lines almost unnoticeable. My daughter would ride on my lap when she got tired and in no time I was up and moving at Ariel’s Grotto Dance Party dancing it up despite my pain with Mickey and Goofy. I was determined to do whatever it took to have a good vacation eventhough an injury took place. Looking back now we did have a nice time despite the fact that it was a very different vacation then we had originally planned and this vacation now has been the source of many family chuckles.
Life is like that sometimes. We have a vision of how some aspect of our lives will play out and then suddenly something happens that was not part of the plan and we are left really rattled. Our feet come out from under us and we are left unsure of what to do next. We cannot control what happens to us but we can control our attitude. Sometimes we need to work at reframing a situation and embracing the new reality of things despite our obvious disappointment. If we are able to do that and be flexible with what life throws us, this can really make a powerful difference in our lives. Do we see the glass half empty or half full? Perspective is everything!
I think this quote from Chuck Swindoll says it all so well. He says “The longer I live the more I realize the impact of attitude in life. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.” How true this is. I remember when my kids were little chatting with a mom of a toddler and asking her how the potty training was going? She quickly responded “ I have no desire to even begin that ordeal!” She had already decided it would be an “ordeal” so I am sure that is what she ended up experiencing. Research shows that we “see what we are prepared to see.” If our outlook is negative, everything is seen through that lens. On the contrary though if our attitudes are positive we have a better chance at overcoming adversity because we see struggles as merely a bump in the road rather than the end of it!
Situations can look so bleak. We cannot imagine going on day after day with certain burdens or scenarios we are experiencing. I know I have been there. I encourage you to take one day at a time and try to see the positive in the little stressors that come your way. Yes they are unwanted, troublesome and very inconvenient but they could be sent your way to teach you something too. God is an ever present help in trouble. He is near to the broken hearted and He wants to work all things for our good. I cannot tell you how many times God has used the heartbreaks and disappointments in my life as a tool to encourage and connect with other discouraged people. I love the words of this song sung by the Katina Boyz. It says “If it would never rain, if it would never snow, If I never felt pain, then I would never know what God can do!” God sees your situation and He cares deeply. He will see you through but in the meantime try seeing something positive eventhough it may seem very difficult. It will certainly help to make challenging situations better and it will open your heart to what God is trying to teach you even through the trials and disappointments of life. Trust me if I can see the bright side of being in a wheelchair at Disney World, you can see something positive in your stressful scenario too if you are willing to try!
Isaiah 40: 30-31 ~ Even youths grow tired and weary, and young man stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
Little Lesson Learned: Reframing a negative situation with a positive outlook will do us a world of good and will open our hearts to learning new valuable lessons.
Copyright: Littlelessonslearnedbydana, 2014