Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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February 18, 2010

Faith gives comfort when dealing with life’s challenging events

“It could be a lot worse,” she said quietly into the phone.

“I know,” I answered, “but I’m just so stressed out.”

“It. Could. Be. A. Lot. Worse,” she said again because she noticed the complete lack of resignation in my first response. She knew she would have to make her invaluable point a second time.

That time I got it. I remembered I was talking to a woman wearing a wig because her head was covered by the peach fuzz of her natural hair that had just begun growing back in.

“Yes,” I answered this time. “You are right. It could be a lot worse.”

Draw a big black check next to my reality.

Remembering that I was talking to a woman who had recently looked cancer in its chemo-filled-radiation-plugged face reminded me not to stress out over blooming responsibilities, small annoyances or daily demands when ones’ health is thriving. Even major events in life such as moving, getting fired, getting married, getting divorced or other crucial life transitions pale in comparison to a critical health crisis.

This woman had learned to take lightly the little stressors, maybe even enjoying the mundane in the midst of a major hardship. Worrying about paying a late bill or getting to work on time became a luxury of “life lite” compared to the heavier weight of dealing with a deadly disease.

“It could be a lot worse” has become a mantra my husband and I use to encourage each other during the frustrating or stressful moments that accompany typical family life, if you’re coping with parent-child issues, financial concerns about the future or unpleasant surprises. In one weekend, we dealt with a flooded laundry room and a leaking hot water heater in an upstairs bathroom, two completely unrelated events.

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