Rusty's Corner: Being Thankful in Hard Times

I lost my father at a young age - 16 years old to be exact. Before he passed, there was no warning or preparation time. It was sudden and unexpected. It was truthfully my first real challenge in life, and I was understandably really struggling with this. I was heartbroken and full of questions and hurt that this man who was so important to me could be taken so quickly.

Some time later I was fortunate enough to hear some words that helped me see a different perspective. In a conversation someone told me that they had struggled with some of the same frustrations and pain, not from losing a father, but because they had never gotten the chance to meet their father. They told me that Instead of being angry and focusing on that, they chose to focus on the gift of having been provided such a great mother instead. It didn't change the circumstances, but it changed their way of seeing them. And that brought some comfort and peace.

This single conversation really helped shift my vantage point and I still think about it to this day. Instead of focusing on the feelings of bitterness because my father is no longer here, I focused on how grateful and blessed I was to have 16 amazing years to spend with him - years many do not ever get.

It was such a large impact that I still apply this concept and approach in challenging situations in my life today, and I teach this as one of our core values to new team members that join our staff. We call it having an 'Attitude of Optimism.'

It's not a belief that bad things don't happen, because they do. Every day. It's about recognizing the good things in spite of those challenging situations, and refocusing our attention on that.

To cultivate an attitude of optimism, this quote from a famous novel that my wife loves really rings true: Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.