Armed with not a little amount of time, I have been searching through YouTube for interesting videos to watch. Recuperating from colon surgery has this incredible draw towards lying down. Gravity is less relentless on your insides when in the prone position, and well, it just doesn’t hurt in that position, unlike standing or walking, or even sitting up for that matter.
So holding a remote suffices for the need of personal power and control at this point. Although, if you allow me a short rant here, why are the algorithms in YouTube’s searches so tight? All that YouTube suggests for me are car test, news and comedy sketches, and Voces 8. Now, I don’t want any of those things to go away – if you haven’t heard Voces 8, you should, they are really an amazing group. But I would like some suggestions of other things! There are other things going on in the world! Where are those videos?!
And then this intriguing video pops up. It’s an interview of Michael J. Fox with Jane Pauley. Knowing who either of these people are dates you. If you were born post 1980, you probably don’t remember them, although anybody that has seen a DeLorean car somewhere in their lives has heard of the Back to the Future movies, the movies that launched both that car and Michael J. Fox into the annals of entertainment history.
Michael J. Fox was having his way with Hollywood back then. He was popular beyond comprehension. I wanted to dress like him, primarily as Alex P. Keaton, his character from the television series, Family Ties. I wanted to be cool like him, maybe sans the subscription to the Wall Street Journal. And then he got Parkinson’s Disease. At a very young age.
He has championed the cause of Parkinson’s research. He has valiantly fought the fight, and to his own admission, had the resources to avail himself of the best of care. Which has enabled him to survive decades of the disease, and function in spite of all the falls, broken bones, and illnesses that might have taken somebody else.
But money isn’t the sum of it. There’s something else about him. He operates with a level of optimism that is inspiring. His ambition to stand out in Hollywood morphed into an ambition to beat a disease. Having so much to lose, and so much to struggle with, it’s remarkable how he stays optimistic and keeps fighting.
This is where Jane Pauley came in. She asked him about that. And he said “with gratitude, optimism is sustainable.” Jane Pauley looked at the camera and said: “Write that down.” So I did. Gratitude has a bunch of side effects – building relationship with the one you thank, providing contentment with what you have been given, etc. But MJF appropriated it to his own life, and said that his optimism is sustainable through the struggle because of gratitude. And as if answering the doubter before the question arose, he finished by saying: “And if you can find something to be grateful for, then you can find something to look forward to, and you carry on.” Wise words from a tested person.
Speaking of tested persons—it’s amazing that through all the trials the Apostle Paul had to go through, a really rough life because of his faith, Paul says to be grateful over and over and over. Whether to the church in Thessalonica, or Colossi, or Ephesus or Corinth, he called them to be grateful, and to not stop—regardless of the circumstances. I’m resonating with that right now, and I tell you, song helps me give expression, and emotion, to it. I encourage you to sing today, and to give thanks.
Singing with the saints in glory,
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18