Having come face to face with a life-changing illness,
I now have a different perspective on life.
Although we may not realize it, each of us has a formulated view on what life is supposed to look like and how it is supposed to work. When life is going well we may not be aware of our perspective or recognize how much it shapes our response to life. But our perspective has a powerful impact and when adversity strikes – many of us find that our perspective is shaken to the core.
Before I was diagnosed with cancer my perspective on life was pretty limited. Life had been going my way up to that point and it was good. I knew pain and suffering happened but as an athlete, I felt that I could conquer anything. I was young – in great shape – I was living my dream. I thought pain and suffering would happen to the other guy – not me.
Now I know better. As is true for many people my cancer diagnosis blew apart my naïve perspective on life. It forced me to realize that life wasn’t what I had assumed it would be. I held onto a few nuggets of truth but I began to question much of what I thought I believed. It was scary and humbling to realize I didn’t have life figured out quite as well as I thought I had. It was tough to abandon the expectation that everything would always be fine and to accept that I no longer lived in that safe world.
Over a period of time, however, I reevaluated my assumptions and gained a new perspective on life. That new way of thinking became essential in dealing with what had happened to me. It helped me learn to take life one day at a time – to dream and plan for the future but not to take the time I have for granted.
I think suffering, adversity, and tragedy are supposed to change your perspective. My illness sounded an alarm that caused me to react and take action so that I can give the greatest amount of attention to what really matters.
That was 25 years ago and thanks to God’s Spirit my perspective continues to mature and be lifted to new heights with each passing year, every gray hair and each stormy trial.
If there’s anything we need in a stormy trial,
it’s perspective …
When we catch the updrafts of God’s Spirit
and are lifted to new heights,
trials look extraordinarily different.
JONI EARECKSON TADA
On the Journey with You,