I travel around the country telling people that their attitude is either their best friend or worst enemy. It isn't the position in life; it's the disposition. Now I'm not one of those positive blab it and grab it guys. I do tell everyone that it's a fallen world, that Murphy was an optimist, and that there will always be people trying to blow out the light at the end of the tunnel. I even tell them that every day the world rolls over on someone who is sitting on top of it. I just wasn't expecting it to be me.
I'm a guy who doesn't have to deal with deacons' committees or business meetings. All I have to do is show up, preach, and leave. Then IT happened. "It" was an accident. Well, not exactly an accident.
I'm reminded of the doctor who asked the rancher if he ever had an accident. The rancher replied that he hadn't, to which the doctor replied, "Never in your whole life?" The rancher remarked that last spring he had been in the corral and the bull tossed him over the fence. The doctor asked if that wasn't an accident, and the rancher said he thought the bull had done it on purpose.
I had an accident, but I guess it happened on purpose. I was playing my son-in-law and my grandson in basketball. I've discovered at my age your mind makes commitments that your body can't keep. I wish I could say I fell the wrong way after dunking the ball a little too hard. Actually, I just fell. To make a long story even longer, I had to call Pastor Dan Yeary from the Scottsdale hospital to tell him I couldn't preach because I had a blood clot. The next week I'm in surgery for a ruptured Achilles tendon. So now the guy who only had to show up, can't show. I tell people 80 percent of life is just showing up. Now I know why they say, "No show, no dough!"
So next I'm showing up at the hospital where I discover that my insurance covers just about as much as my hospital gown. And then I'm writing checks for services rendered. I asked them why I received a time-released pill. They told me that it starts working when my check clears. So then I'm sent home on crutches and in a cast. Life is going downhill.
We stopped at a restaurant to cheer me up. I ordered the catch of the day, and they said they hadn't caught anything yet. We also had to send a check back to a certain business because I had to cancel my speaking engagement. By the way, if you're ever in full-time speaking, businesses give money in advance, churches give money eventually, and pastors' conferences give exposure. Now the great attitude guy is sitting on the couch being a grouch potato.
But only for a day. I decided to practice what I preach. I've noticed that ungrateful people become hateful people and eventually destroy everything around them. Grateful people become great people and develop everyone around them. I thought about the phrase in life, "It's not your position in life but your disposition." That's true in the business world. It's also true in the spiritual world. It's your position in Christ that will allow you to see the good in a situation because you can trust the God of every situation. You will never see the sun rise by looking to the west. Why? You're not in the right position. I could see that I was resenting my situation rather than receiving it.
The position is really simple. I was reminded of it when I prayed with my granddaughter. We close our hands and say, "God is great, God is good, let us thank Him ...." I'm not thanking Him for the bum leg, but that He is great enough to provide a blessing out of the blunder and good enough to use it for my development.
I love the story of Matthew Henry who wrote in his diary: "Today I was robbed and I thank God. First, I thank Him that the thief took my wallet and not my life. Secondly, I thank God that even though the thief took all I had, I didn't have much to take. Thirdly, I thank God that I was the one robbed and not the one doing the robbing."
From my position I must say that I've had a great month at home. Symbolically speaking, I've been burning wood for many years and it was a great time to chop some and store it for future fires. It's been a time of dependence where my wife literally had to do everything. I have experienced what my dad told me years ago. He said that marriage is like a shade tree. You plant it while it is young, take care of it, and one day you will enjoy the shade. It was nice to rest in the shade of my wife's love.
Now I'm back on the road. I'm truly grateful for the opportunity to speak again. Of course, attitude is always a work in progress. In one of my first events, I was complaining about the steps up to the platform. I was on my crutches and feeling a little sorry for myself. I told the guy helping me that I sure was a lot of trouble. He just smiled and told me that it was really no big deal. He said the man who spoke at that event last year was Tim Lee, the great American hero. The name didn't ring a bell with me, so I asked a staff member who Tim Lee was. He said, "Oh, you know who he is. He's the soldier who lost his legs." At that moment, I thought I heard the angels laughing.
Charles Lowery is founder and president of LIFE, Inc. and is in a fulltime speaking ministry. You may contact LIFE, Inc. at 903-881-9422 or www.charleslowery.com.