Friends, today I want to share with you a time I chose love over fear. Whether we are giving love or receiving it, love can be the greatest liberator in life, and through it we can overcome our suffocating fears.
Last summer I attended my family reunion in Montana. This reunion has been taking place every two years since the late 1960’s. It’s full of swimming in the lake, inner tubing, playing games, taking hikes, and hanging with the aunts, uncles, and cousins. While life since my illness has definitely been a challenging journey, something I know for sure is that I could never have done it alone. The love of my family truly liberated me and trumped the suffocating fear I had and still have when facing each day with my disabilities. I am so grateful for my family and their wonderful support.
The highlight of the trip was actually a surprise party thrown for me. The day after the reunion ended, many of my extended family members said their goodbyes and supposedly took off to their homes in other parts of the country.
My immediate family and I planned the day before to go to my aunt’s house for a potluck to hang out with the locals and the few relatives who were left in town. When I arrived, my brother, Scott, took me around the back claiming that the front entrance was inaccessible. When we got to the backyard, I was hit with a wall of sound. At first, I thought it was maybe some loud neighbors, but I soon discovered it was a large crowd yelling “surprise” at me!
All the family members that had said their goodbyes a day or two before had never actually left but stayed to surprise me for the 20th anniversary of me surviving bacterial meningitis and coming home from the hospital. I was stunned and overwhelmed with love and gratitude and rendered speechless as tears filled my eyes.
My friends, as I was being showered with love, one thing was very clear, any fear that had been suffocating me on that day disappeared and I was liberated by the love of my family. The challenge for all of us, no matter our family background and experiences, is to choose liberation by operating in love, rather than taking the path of fear and suffocation. For when we can do this only the best is yet to come!