Finding positive in the negative

Last Thursday night you would have found me at the high school Veterans Day program. The wind ensemble, orchestra, artist guitar ensemble, and jazz ensemble all played music, and a former American Idol contestant (who happens to attend our high school) sang. There was also a slide show set to music, but when the music for the slide show failed to work,  we ended up watching the images in silence.  The two young men in charge of that part of the program were horrified. What they didn’t understand at that moment was the blessing in allowing us to focus solely on the photographs without any distractions.  Some of the images were ones we have all seen in magazines or on our television screens, but watching them in a silent auditorium was a poignant experience.

The guest of honor for the Veterans Day program was a 2003 graduate of our high school.  Back then he was simply known as Rob; but last week he was in full uniform as CPL Robert Jones, USMC, and he was walking on his new titanium legs. Yes, legs. Both of them.  An IED claimed his flesh and bone in Afghanistan in July, but it did not claim his positive attitude.

“The most common reaction I get from people who visit me is disbelief that I can maintain such a positive outlook. It isn’t because I posses anything that anybody doesn’t have, nor is it because I have the will of a superhero.  My positive outlook comes from the very people that are impressed by it.  Every visitor I get gives me a little more strength and a little more hope.”

Before the end of the program, there was another slide show. This time the photographs were familiar in a different way: they showed images of graduates of our high school who have served or are currently serving in the military, including CPL Jones. The slide image of him sweeping for explosives –a normal job for him prior to July 22, an act that took his legs and even some of his dreams– was especially gripping to my heart.

In the face of what many would consider a disaster –the loss of both of his legs– this young man has a positive outlook.

Where do YOU find positive in the negative? Can you find something to be thankful for today — a blessing that has arisen out of a bad circumstance?

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11 responses to “Finding positive in the negative

  1. It’s close to three years since I was operated on for lung cancer and I’m healthy and hale.
    You bet I can find blessings every day I get to wake up, go to work, do battle with students and take Loki for walks!

  2. Things like this always amaze me! I remember listening to a speaker once that had no arms or legs and their testimony of positiveness was amazing…and his ability to remain grateful in spite of everything.

    I have been through some tough times in my life and I think they taught me gratefulness the most. I have been without which has caused me to be grateful for what I have.

    I work hard to look for the positve in all circumstances and whatever life deals up to me. I try to be mindful of when negativety is seaping in and stealing my joy. I also try to be mindful of taking each negative and turning it into a postive or at least a better focus.

    I was called last night and told that it is just a matter of time before my friend dies. My heart is broken and I am sad and now today I will go see her after I get my little man off to school. Am I ready to say goodbye? Still, I stop and think if I didn’t know such love I wouldn’t know heartache. I am grateful for her life and what it’s done for mine. As hard as it is to lose loved ones, the greater sorrow is in not having loved at all. So I choose love…and choosing love means I will have my heart broken many times in my life.

    I do think choosing an attitude of being grateful gives one a positive attitude. Being around people like this is positively refreshing! Thanks for the reminder!

  3. i’m not sure i possess enough grace to not be bitter about my lot in life were something like that to happen to me :S

    for much smaller things, though, i can 🙂 i was just thinking the other day how much i absolutely adore my apartment. i mean, ADORE IT. i love it and never want to leave it, and i would never ever have looked at it as an option if i hadn’t been moving in with the rotten exboyfriend (who left me for HIS exgf 3 weeks [WEEKS!!!] after we moved in together). so while that whole situation was pretty awful at the time, it resulted in my amazing house. so.. 🙂

  4. I try hard to find the goodness in the tough stuff. Sometimes I am better at it than times. This was an amazing story.

  5. Do you count eating scrambled eggs with your fingers while eating toast with a fork a BLESSING? LOL! Then I guess I do! I DO manage to find my share of blessings from things that shouldn’t be … but are. And I think that’s why I am a HAPPY person, while some who have much fail to see it and wind up bitter…

  6. This is heart warming. And, you know me. I always try to find the optimistic perspective…. 😉 THX for sharing…

  7. It sounds like it was a wonderful evening and Cpl. R. Jones, sounds like an amazing young man. It is taking me forever to paint my small apartment, but I am grateful that I have permission to do so and that I am able to do it myself.

  8. I have often been told I can find the bright side to anything. I don’t know that that is true. Yes, the disasters in my life have had positive sides, but I am still hardly and whole. I have no idea if my optimism would see me through an injury or illness. And, if I am given a choice, I would rather never find out.

    CPL Robert Jones has my admiration.

  9. That’s a guy who can really see silver linings. I wish I had such vision.

  10. A blessing that arose out of a bad circumstance was Dave…and I’m a happier person for that 🙂