The Six Words That Changed My Life
“There’s a problem with the brain.”
“There’s a problem with the brain,” she said again.
There they are. The six words that changed my life.
Those were the six words from our ultrasound technician during our daughter Mikayla’s 20-week ultrasound. Those words would send us on a journey that day to further ultrasounds and a battery of tests that would ultimately lead us to a diagnosis.
The words the doctor said when she delivered the diagnosis are forever emblazoned on my memory. She said: “Your daughter has a condition called Dandy Walker Syndrome. She has excess fluid that has built up in her brain that has formed a cyst. It is a rare congenital brain malformation. Your daughter has a 1 in 4 chance of surviving this pregnancy to full-term. If she does survive the pregnancy, she will most likely have significant special needs. It is my legal obligation to inform you of your right to terminate this pregnancy.” As soon as those words of “terminate this pregnancy” left her mouth the room was dead silent and words became a precious commodity. The moment had swallowed up all the meaningless pleasantries and polite conversations that we have on a daily basis. Every word that followed was extremely important.
Somehow my wife and I had the clarity of conviction through prayer to say that we were going to keep this child. No matter what the challenges, we were going to give this child its best chance at life. We called the doctor back in and told her we are keeping this baby. Looking back on this day, I still say that it was the scariest day of my life. I have never felt the feeling of devastation that I felt that day nor have I ever since. I had a new reality and I would never be the same person again.
However, the story doesn’t end there. What I thought would be the worst day of my life has turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me. In the weeks after the initial diagnosis, I knew that I had a choice to make. The choice was that I could either view my daughter’s life as a blessing or as a burden. I resolved to continually view Mikayla’s life as a blessing to us. It was a decision I would later refer to as the blessing choice. The blessing choice is a choice to view something as a blessing that most people would view as a burden. Her life continues to teach me about the most important things in life and has sent me on a journey of seeking more meaning and purpose in my own.
Her life is a testimony to what is possible. Her progress is a testament to refusing to give up and that comparison to others is the biggest robber of joy. Her happiness and joy are innate, not because ignorance is bliss, but rather because she doesn’t pursue anything outside of herself to make her happy. Instead, her joy ensues from her purpose. Her success lies in her significance to others instead of her personal achievements. She has taught me that real humility comes from recognizing my own brokenness that I can’t fix on my own, that my beliefs can limit my potential if I let them, and that life happens through me and not to me.
Blessings have traditionally been viewed as things given or bestowed, but I have come to believe that blessings can also come from the choices we make in our perceptions. Making this blessing choice I referred to earlier has impacted my life in some very profound ways and has allowed my life to be much fuller. Making that choice led me to launch a new business and career, a health journey of dropping 40 pounds, a deeper faith, and better relationships, amongst other positive changes. It is a choice I believe you can also make to change your life for the better. It is a matter of shifting your perceptions and adopting the blessing choice for your life.
What will you resolve to look at differently starting today? What change in perception can propel you forward into new and positive changes in your life and business? What obstacles are you allowing to remain in your way to personal growth and development? The answers to these questions may just have surprising and positive consequences for your life.