Facing reality doesn’t mean ignoring beauty

by Andrea on July 9, 2012 · 12 comments

magnolia bloom, magnolia bud, andrea updyke, lilkidthings

I am a self-proclaimed eternal optimist. Some might call me delusional if they didn’t know me. Maybe even unrealistic because I see the silver lining before I see the problem. I just do. But that doesn’t mean the reality isn’t there. And the fact is, reality is hard.

It’s hard to lose a loved one too soon.

It’s hard to have your home burn to the ground.

It’s hard to have a miscarriage.

It’s hard to swallow your pride and file for bankruptcy or government aid.

It’s hard to face a scary or potentially fatal illness.

It’s hard to face divorce.

Sometimes it’s simply just hard to face another day.

Reality is hard. There is a lot to worry about. There is a lot of sadness. A lot of pain.

Growing up I learned about the time my Grandfather had Typhoid fever. I remembered hearing almost in passing. “you know Grampa had typhoid fever right? He almost died and it changed his life.” I remember the words, but like so many things as a child they didn’t really hold the weight that they should have.

It wasn’t until I read the latest post on my Dad’s blog that I realized how important this event was for him. And how important it is for me today.

My grandparents were out of town, likely celebrating their 5th anniversary when he contracted typhoid fever. They had no children. He really thought he would die and made peace with that fact. Yet he looked up and out of the window at some flower buds and decided that he wanted to see them bloom.

And he did.

What moved me was not the fact that he lived. Though I wouldn’t be here today if he hadn’t. The thing that struck me about this story was his ability to see beauty in the literal face of death. He didn’t know that he would wake up the next morning. In fact, he was sure that he wouldn’t, yet he chose to see beauty.

As Jerry and I are about to celebrate our 5th anniversary, there is a lot of “reality” to face. We are getting older. We have a lot to deal with. Our friends and family are suffering. We are raising children in the sometimes perilous ‘digital age’. But I’d like to think if I inherited anything from my Grandfather that it was the ability to see beauty. Because there is just too much pain to dwell on it. In the hardest times if I could find one thing of beauty to focus on, I chose that thing. This is what I do. It’s the only way I know how to survive.

Choosing to see the beauty may not change your situation, but I guarantee it will change the way you see yourself within the situation. It’s not about looking at the glass half full. It’s seeing the pain alongside the beauty. It’s accepting both as they are.

Both reality.

***Linked up with Live a Little on Skimbaco Lifestyle

  • http://www.thecentsiblelife.com Kelly

    I adore this post. I am naturally a person who sees the flaws, the obstacles, the harshness of life. I always try to fight against that-but your post has made me think I shouldn’t fight it–I should just notice the beauty alongside the flaws.
    Kelly´s last blog post ..Weekly Round Up – July 8th

  • Doreen Lawrence

    “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise” Philippians 4:8

  • http://www.skimbacolifestyle.com Katja of Skimbaco

    I love this post so much!! Yes, life isn’t always easy and that IS part of life, and we have to realize it and accept it and learn to find beauty even in the moments that are not easy. I think it’s wonderful that it became part of your family’s heritage and his legacy – something scary became so beautiful and powerful that it is cherished and remembered generations in your family. Truly remarkable.
    Katja of Skimbaco´s last blog post ..Live a Little: Read a Book

  • http://www.ExtraordinaryMommy.com Danielle Smith

    My friend, this is lovely. Like you, I always try to see the good, but sometimes the ‘beauty’ escapes me in the most difficult of times. What a truly beautiful legacy you have in both your grandfather and father. You have a remarkable spirit… xoxo
    Danielle Smith´s last blog post ..How To Do A Zero-Effort, Fast Summer UpDo

  • http://www.somebodysparents.com Amy

    Beautiful! Well said, Andrea!
    Amy´s last blog post ..Let Freedom Ring!- July 4, 2012

  • http://www.ateenagerandatot.blogspot.com JP

    Great post. I lean toward the silver lining myself, so I appreciate it in others.
    JP´s last blog post .."You No Say Me This"

  • http://www.FoundtheMarbles.com Jessica @FoundtheMarbles

    And that is why I adore you.
    Jessica @FoundtheMarbles´s last blog post ..It’s All About One

  • http://www.superdumbsupervillain.com Naomi

    So true. You can’t have good without bad. Everything is part of life.

  • http://www.shaneshirleysmith.com Shane@EnviroBooty

    Andrea it is nice to meet you and really nice to read this post today. It really is all in our heads isn’t it? No matter what is going on around us, we can choose to be happy and see the miracle of life all around us. And can I also say how impressed I am that your dad reads your blog. I don’t think mine ever has visited mine since my first week three years ago. :) how sweet.
    Shane@EnviroBooty´s last blog post ..Live a Little Monday – Take a HInt form Kyrie & Brielle and Give a Little Hug

  • http://www.hinessightblog.com Leigh Powell Hines @Hinessightblog

    Great post, Andrea. Well written. You are so right.
    Leigh Powell Hines @Hinessightblog´s last blog post ..Strolling around Historic New Bern, North Carolina, the Birthplace of Pepsi

  • http://aparentingproduction.com Erin L.

    Oh lady! I love this post. So lovely. So well written. So true.
    Erin L.´s last blog post ..The adventures of little boys

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