I have a choice…

The last few weeks have been tough. I have so many friends that are experiencing tragedy. Not inconveniences. Tragic, horrible, life-changing events.

Bear with me…

One of my closest performing buddies, with whom I perform over 30 times a year, had a heart attack 2 weeks ago. Open-heart surgery was successful. The next day, he suffered a full stroke, then a blood clot, then swelling of the brain. He’s not in good shape. Actually, he’s worse.

Then there are my longtime local friends whose 15-year-old daughter simply dropped dead in their home. Brain aneurism, out of nowhere. Bam. A girl full of life just died.

My longtime local friends’ 21-year-old son, a college kid, got in a horrific auto accident. His body is battered but his brain took the real beating. Picture a strapping young man with energy and smarts now struggling to give a “thumbs up” sign, struggling to sit on the side of the bed, and unable to communicate anything but pain. His prognosis? Much of the same…

Then there’s my father in law this past week. You don’t want to hear my thoughts on him. But, let me just say that he has challenged everyone in the family as he has been moved out of his house and into a long term care facility. This simply change in life is causing friction between every family member and creating stress on so many wonderful people.

Not the usual cheerful stuff you read from me, is it? It is life. We all have struggles, are facing struggles or sharing the struggles of others. For me, this was a LOT to bear. This has all happened during one of the busiest times in my business life. 14 magic shows, 2 cocktail parties with “mingling magic” and 2 major keynote motivational speaking presentations… all in 5 days. (They all went great, thank you!)

What was the choice I had? I could choose to go into an emotional black hole and shake; shutter and cry like I did one night… or I could stop and say, “How fortunate am I to have so many friends with whom I can share their pains? How fortunate am I to have so many friends who know they can turn to me? How fortunate am I that I can be there, in times of need, when friends need someone by their side?

At the funeral viewing, the wake, the night before 15-year-old Kaitlyn’s funeral I hugged her parents for an eternity. “We’re in a nightmare,” the mother wailed. “Yes, yes you are…” was my reply. I apologized for not being a better magician, a real one, who could make things different.

I don’t have the power to wave my magic wand and change life. I do have the power, however, to choose how I look at the situation I’m in, the situation that others are in, and be there. “You can fake like you care but you can’t fake being there.” I can’t do everything, but I could do something. And, in the end, I could simply find contentment and happiness in the fact that I had friends and family to love and who loved me back.

What will you choose today? Good and bad things are happening all around us. I choose to find the best in every situation. To see the blessings in every tragic situation. But, most of all, I choose to plug in and be there, not retreat, from my friends and family when the going gets rough. Like a marriage vow, I pledge to love them for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, ’till death do us part…