How Will You Handle Hardship?

Little Maria Monique came down with a severe lung infection.  It might have been treatable in the US, but in her home of Indonesia, the doctors weren’t able to treat her.  Her mother, Tjahja, sold everything she owned and flew with her daughter to Singapore for more advanced medical care.  Doctors there were more equipped to deal with the infection.  And when Tjahja ran out of money, doctors continued in the battle to save her life.  Maria Monique, her doctors and her mother fought hard, but in 2006, at the age of seven, the little girl passed away.   Her mother was heartbroken.Most of us, born into the luxury of the American medical system, haven’t had to deal with the loss of a child.  Those who have had are obviously never the same.  And most parents who haven’t lost a child, have at one time or another, considered what it would do to them.  “I couldn’t go on,” we’re inclined to say.  “My kids are everything to me.”

People who don’t know any better sometimes say to parents who have lost a child, “Oh, I don’t know how you’re going on.  I wouldn’t be able to live.”   It is an attempt at sympathy, but it can feel like a condemnation of the grieving parent:  “Really?  You’re still functioning?  I guess you didn’t love your child the way I love mine.”

The truth is that even under the worst circumstances, when you’ve been devastated by unimaginable circumstances, when your heart is broken and your faith is shaky, you still choose how to go about pain and stress reduction.  You still can to come from a place of Abundance and Goodwill.

In my blog, “Are You Cheating Yourself Out of Abundance and Prosperity” (Jan 8), I wrote about the four themes that define people’s lives, and how they affect your decision-making.  We at the Human Development Institute have found that people who live within the theme of Abundance and Goodwill are happiest and most fulfilled.

Tjahja sacrificed everything she had to save her precious little girl, and she lost her anyway.  Back home in Indonesia, Tjahja had a choice to make.  She could become bitter and tired and defeated, and never have pain and stress reduction.  Or she could live.

Tjahja decided to live.  She decided to honor Maria Monique’s life by helping other children in Indonesia.  She created a foundation named after her daughter, beginning with only $50.  To date, the Maria Monique Foundation has provided prosthetics, wheelchairs, outtings, and other supplies to over 6000 children.

How can you shift your theme to Abundance and Goodwill like Tjahja?

  • Acknowledge your feelings, even if you’re uncomfortable with them.  Despair, anger, relief – feelings don’t need our permission to happen.  They just do.
  • Keep in mind that feelings not only happen, but that they change constantly.  You can be in the same circumstances from one day to the next, and you’re feelings might vary from despondency to hope.
  • As important as they are, don’t allow your feelings to be your master.  Make your decisions based on facts, and stay aware of how the facts might appear as filtered through your feelings.

Hopefully, you aren’t dealing with such a devastating loss, but no matter what you’re dealing with, you have the same choice Tjahja had.  You can choose your theme.  And if you choose the theme of abundance and goodwill in your life, you’re life will be rich with meaning and fulfilled values, even in the midst of hard times and loss.



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