Let me introduce you to my guest author, Leah Recor. She has a rather unique perspective because of her work with her non-profit. Leah’s non-profit is Little Legacies and it provides one-on-one mentoring in writing for pediatric patients and families faced with serious and life altering medical conditions. Leah further explained her non-profit:
Providing age appropriate writing tools and inspiration, we are dedicated to improving the quality of patients’ time spent in treatments and hospitals and are enrichment to their existing services and treatments. At no cost to families, Little Legacies’ writing sessions result in structured, meaningful time spent during treatment or recovery. In cases where both the patient and family are coping with terminal illness, and should they so chose, we can guide the patient through writing their legacies to leave behind to loved ones.
And here is Leah’s post she is sharing with If It Brings You Joy…
I believe that if one wishes to experience the ultimate highs of gratitude and happiness in this life, they must first endure the lowest depths of suffering and loss. For in that perspective of the full spectrum of life’s offerings, the heartache and disbelief that one could ever survive and heal, leads way to feeling happiness and fulfillment that we often overlook in our culture.
I am a healthy adult. While I have had many of my own struggles that caused a physical pain from emotional grief I could have never anticipated, fighting for my life from a medical standpoint has never been something I have had to face. In fact, I can hardly even imagine what it must feel like to know one’s body is failing them, and even harder to imagine it as a child. My inability to relate in that way does not stop me from working with children who have that exact experience. Further, it doesn’t impede me from empathizing and respecting them for the incredible human beings they are, enduring so much at such a young age.
What amazes me most about these tiny warriors, are their spirit. Sure, there are days they feel terrible and they just need to cry with their family, but on their brighter days, their hearts shine so splendidly. Their optimism is unavoidable and I find myself ensnared by their joie de vivre. These children, who hear death knocking on their doors, have a greater capacity to love, laugh and share kindness that most people who have never struggled a day in their life. Perhaps, that is Universe’s gift to them and that through suffering with grace, they are rewarded with greater joy. This life is amazing. I am overwhelmed with the thought of it. I am blessed to be alive and through living my life’s purpose of helping others, I am shone the ultimate beauty of exchanges of energy and love and the human condition to connect.
So to hell with you guy at the restaurant cursing at the staff because your burger isn’t made how you expected, to hell with you lady who is making insulting gestures at people not driving fast enough, to hell with you sir while you complain you didn’t get a raise and your BMW isn’t the newest model, to hell with you bitter lady at the store shaming a mother struggling with her toddler’s tantrum. You all are missing life’s gifts. I feel sorry for you and your ugly gloom. Misery loves company, they say, but I disagree, you see, you’ve pushed all your company away. There is something bigger than us, a greater power. That greater power is in all of us, and the whole world is in our hands.
Whether your demons are life altering or just smaller daily challenges, I invite you to take your power and turn your life around. Then, touch the lives of as many people as you can with your new heightened perspective. I promise, you won’t regret it. It only takes one step, and it’s a big one! Choose happiness. It’s so simple, right? No. When you have been through dark days, making that choice isn’t always as easy as flipping a switch. For me, even as an optimistic person, it took a lot of work. Choosing happiness meant holding strong to my personal boundaries, listening to speakers with positive messages every opportunity I had through out the day, reading self help books like my life depended on it and finding what pulled me out of negative thinking and overthinking cycles. (for me that was being around positive people and meditation.)
Determination to revel in the light and finding a life purpose to serve others has led me to now, where I get to choose happiness. Since I’ve already done the hard work, this is an easy choice. Perhaps this daily choice comes easier contemplating children fighting for their very existence and struggling with the realities of lives altered by medical conditions. It is these children, however, who inspire me. They choose happiness anytime they feel well enough to do so, and sometimes even when they don’t. If they can do it, so can I. And, so can you.
About the Author, Leah Recor: From a very young age, it was through personal loss and adversity that Leah realized the only thing that truly matters in this life is connecting with others and making a positive difference in their moment, their day, or their life. Being a writer, and leaning on her love of journaling to make sense of her grief, she realized writing was bringing her clarity and peace. But, her greatest teachers are her two young daughters. On the toughest days, they bring such honesty and profound explanation for the tribulations they face together. While Leah was over analyzing and grasping for answers, they often seemed to already have resolutions and she couldn’t help but take notice. Leah has a profound respect for children and believes what they have to say is just as meaningful as someone with more time on this earth. They too, have legacies to leave behind. Their innocence brings truth to what we can sometimes not see or understand as adults. Leah has experience with Nonviolent Communication (NVC), Simplicity Parenting, Waldorf Education, child-led activities, as well as children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. She has taught for Denver Public Schools and graduated from the University of Denver.
- Learn more by reading Leah’s post on her nonprofit’s blog about living, as a child, with a mother with cancer who ultimately passed away when Leah was 21 years old.
- Follow Little Legacies on Facebook.