“What positive difference will I make in the world today” was written above my desk. It was one of the first goals I set when in 1983 I started my real estate career. I have been struck time and time again by people coming up or writing to me saying things like: “Thank you for sharing your story”, “you are an inspiration”, “my faith has grown because of the example you have set for the rest of us”. These type of comments have buoyed me up and continue to encourage me along the way like people along a road cheering for you as you run more than walk a 5K 🙂 William Barclay wrote, “One of the highest of human duties is the duty of encouragement. … It is easy to laugh at man’s ideals. It is easy to pour cold water on the enthusiasm. It is easy to discourage others. The world is full of discouragers. We have a Christian duty to encourage one another. Many a time a word of praise or thanks or appreciation or cheer has kept a man on his feet. I try to keep in the forefront of my mind, “By God’s grace, with His strength, an with His Mercy”. As I have written before, I am humbled that I have been given the privilege to cheer on others who have faced or are facing adversity in some way. Had I not been knocked down by Guillain Barre, this opportunity to make a positive difference would not have been possible.
As I look back over what has occured, I can’t help to see what I will call silver linings. There are so many examples but let me include one that just happened this week. I became better friends with someone from college during my stay in Rehab. He made sure to be at my PT sessions every Friday to cheer me on the road to recovery. This past week we saw each other at the gym and he introduced me to a friend who he had told about what I had gone through. I now have a new friend. The two of us found ourselves in a place to encourage an employee at the gym. None of this happens if GBS hadn’t brought my Friday friend back into my life in a significant way. The wonderful result in this journey through adversity is that I am even more grateful than I was before getting sick. As I try to answer why, the primary reason is that I know that God loves me in a way I didn’t know it before.
Good old Merriam Webster defines silver linings in this way, ” a consoling or hopeful prospect…” The bible talks about all things working for good. Greg Laurie expands on this thought. “God promises that He will work all things together for good. He doesn’t say He will make a bad thing good, necessarily. But He says that good will come despite the bad thing.” The good that has come from the bad thing called Guillain Barre Syndrome is the silver lining, the glimmer of light that God continually provides for me through others.