Hard truth: Life can be unpredictable

Life is unpredictable, and it certainly does not come with a user manual or an easy button. And as I learned this week, while watching “A Fault in Our Stars,” life is not a wish-granting factory either. But the reality is that every morning when you wake up, one thing is assured: today is the first day of the rest of your life.

The harsh and bitter truth is that some stories are shorter than others, but if every moment of our tale is truly savored, and we seek to spread happiness and light, the infinite impact of our story is engrained forever across multiple lives. Perhaps it is not all about the happy ending after all, but rather, the story itself.

Every moment of every day is a gift. A gift of life and boundless opportunity, the chance to pave a pathway of vibrant footprints that will positively impact our world. We greet each new day like a blank page, just begging to be filled with adventure and intrigue. Some people take a passenger seat and just watch the world pass them by. They are afraid of failure, of leaving their comfort zone. Others forge ahead with passion and a zest that simply cannot be contained. Without risk, we can never experience success, or failure. When we learn to balance unexpected disappointments and unfair circumstances with the promise of another tomorrow, we can begin to embrace the sheer magnitude of unbound potential.

Sometimes, we work our hardest, and give it our all, yet we still fail. Often this “failure” is perceived because it is simply based on someone else’s decision. It is difficult to keep things in perspective when we feel as if we have no control. But at the end of the day, we discover that the only judgment that really matters is the one we hold of ourselves. If we make a mistake and learn from it, then all is not lost. On the contrary, so much insight is gained.

When the powers that be enact their own infinite wisdom and remind us again that life is not fair, it hurts indeed. And yet it is a lesson well learned. As our skin toughens and our gaze remains steadfast on the ultimate goal, we foster both determination and humility. When we can look directly into a mirror and recognize all the good that realms inside of us, we have won the greatest treasure of all.

Our community relished in the journey of a local boy named Alex Preston this spring. We all came together to support his raw talent and unbridled creativity as he sang his heart out on national television. Truly an artist with foresight, we witnessed his climb to the top ten candidates on the talent program; and then the Top 3. His fortitude and stage presence moved something deep inside of me. Although I had never met him personally, I felt an unexpected sense of sadness and personal loss when he was voted off the program. I recognized inside of him that tingling sense of inspirational goodness. Popular consensus determined the outcome of the vote, they say, yet I learned long ago that the moral majority is often neither. I know who deserved to win. And likely so does Alex.

Losing is sometimes the motivation we need, the spark of determination that reminds us of the endless possibilities still yet to be discovered. I know Alex will find great success in life and music. It is an integral part of who he has groomed himself to be. We all experience unjust loss, it is how we deal with it and the lesson we learn that makes all the difference. Perseverance is a gift not bestowed upon everyone. Those who can recognize its soft tingle from deep within possess a profound insight that shall always shine through.

I implore my kids to understand and accept that life is not fair, in fact, to embrace it. So long as we continually set new goals and work toward them, we are making progress. Bad things happen, that is an undeniable fact, but so do good things. Most of us can attest to the fact that our lives are filled with infinitely more good than bad.

Imagine a scenario with every single person across the globe coming together and joining hands in a great circle. Each person then takes all of their hardships and problems and rolls them into a ball, tossing that ball into the center of the circle. Everyone is then instructed to grab the closest ball and look inside, ultimately taking ownership of someone else’s ‘problem ball.’ The reality is that we would all be frantically trying to get our own ball back. We would realize it is not really as bad as we thought it was after all. We would finally all see the glass as half-full. We might even notice that the water faucet is running strong behind us, and that the well is indeed bottomless.

Today is the first day of the rest of your life. And the best news of all is that tomorrow will be, too. Set new goals, spark new passions, reach for the stars. The world is your oyster, and there are hidden gems inside each and every one of us. I implore you to bring them to fruition.