Unshakable Hope

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)

Having the Right Perspective

I’ve discovered how essential it is to keep things in perspective in order to maintain hope when you’re in the midst of a trial. The first and most important lesson I learned was focusing on what I have and not on what I’ve lost.

blog family pic

Our family before I was diagnosed with ALS. (Mary still had BIG hair).

Perspective: the capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance. (Webster’s Dictionary)

I know of many people close to my age, even some close friends, who have died of ALS, Cancer and other diseases or were killed in tragic accidents. These moms and dads have missed being able see their children growing up. They weren’t there to take pictures before prom, to watch with pride as their child graduated from high school and/or college or to witness their son or daughter’s wedding.

I force myself to think about these friends and acquaintances when I begin feeling depressed about my inability to fully participate in this thing we call life. At times like last year when my daughter got married, and I was unable to walk her down the aisle or dance with her at the reception. During difficult times like this, I make a conscious effort to think about some of these people that are no longer with us; people like my friend Rick, who died of Cancer, leaving a wife and two teenage sons. I think about another blogger named Patrick, who died of ALS in December leaving a wife and a teenage son and daughter. Sadly, Rick and Patrick won’t get the opportunity to watch with pride as their children go through graduations, weddings and other landmark events in their lives.

I think about these people every time I’m tempted to complain or get depressed about my situation. I ask myself what they’d say to me if I was to complain about things like not being able to walk my daughter down the aisle at her wedding. Would they tell me that I should be grateful for just getting to be there to watch as she walked down the aisle? Of course, Rick, Patrick and the others have gone on to heaven so I don’t know what they might say to me. But I know they would be right if they were able to tell me to be grateful that I was able to be there for all the events that they’ve missed and will miss. In a sense, I feel that I owe them; that, if for no other reason, I must be grateful for their sake.

james and girls

Our son-in-law and daughters (January, 2012).

I know it’s strange for me to imagine what deceased people might say to me (to give me the proper perspective), but it works for me and, regardless of the trial that you find yourself in, we all must find ways of coping; ways of changing our perspective and attitude – ways of convincing ourselves that our life isn’t so bad after all.

“…I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.” (Philippians 4:11)

The aim of every Christian should be learning to be content in the good times and in the bad times. But, for those that hope in God, contentment does not mean we stop believing for better days ahead; it just means we’re grateful for today and that we’re going to live it to the full – even if we have to live today in a wheelchair!

Wedding

“For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.” (Romans 8:24-25)

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187 thoughts on “Having the Right Perspective

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  1. So sorry Bill that you have ALS!! Praise Jesus ( Yeshua ) for your Testimony!!

    My late Father has ALS and Cancer at the same time, he died in 2003 of Cancer!!

    Prayers Go Up as HIS Blessings Come Down!!

    Praise Jesus ( Yeshua ) Christ for Today and Everyday!!

    Merry CHRISTmas Everyone!!

    Love Always and Shalom Everyone, YSIC \o/

    Kristi Ann

  2. I loved your pictures, what a beautiful family!
    And your perspective…it is contagious. Thank you.

  3. Anonymous on said:

    Hi Mr. Sweeney,
    I love all your blogs and especially this one. It was such a great day being there for Lauren’s wedding. Every now and then I come on here to read a new blog or an old one that I liked and they always inspire/impact me. Thank you for taking the time to share your life with us and being an inspiration. I am now in nursing school and we went over ALS… a point in the lecture stated “most survive 3-5 years.” I of course had to say that I know first hand someone that has made it past 10 years since I couldn’t remember the exact years, after coming on here I must correct my statement and say 17 years!!

    Again thank you for all your words of wisdom and for Lauren.. even though her and I don’t talk as much as I would like to, when we do it is like we are still in high school!

    Love,
    AJ Yap

    • Thank you so much for your encouraging words, AJ! Mary and I have been keeping up with you through Lauren; she told us that you were going to nursing school… Good for you! Hope to see you sometime soon.

  4. Great post, Bill. We all could use a little perspective at times.

  5. I just nominated you for the ‘Super Sweet’ Blogging Award. Please see my latest post http://kerrichronicles.com/2013/05/07/thank-you-for-the-super-sweet-blogging-award/

  6. Pingback: Shareworthy: “Having the Right Perspective” | Like Incense

  7. Keep your inspiration in Gods kingdom up Brother Bill…

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