One of the gifts that I opened on Christmas was the Chicken Soup for the Soul "Positive Thinking" stories full of reminders not to give up and to do whatever it takes.
As I read I think of examples from my own life:
Karyn was agoraphobic. Her son had gone to a mission in Brazil and had developed feelings for a certain young lady. After he had gone back to visit, he announced that he and this girl would be getting married and living in Brazil for a while. Knowing that he needed some support from the family, he wanted his parents there, of course. Karyn and her husband had enough money for only one plane ticket. And because of her fears of dealing with crowds, it was decided that her husband would go.
His job seemed to complicate the situation as far as the date was concerned. It turned out that if he wanted to keep his job, he would not be able to fly to Brazil but said that his wife might be able to go.
The reservations were changed so that they would be in her name, and she prayed. She prayed long and hard. It was a mighty challenge as she had to deal with the public at Salt Lake airport. Imagine how terrified she was to fly into Brazil and face a more crowded airport and a more people than she could imagine. Not to mention that the majority of people there would be speaking in a foreign tongue that she, herself, would not understand.
She, of course, tells her story much better than I do. I remember listening to her experience, fascinated with her determination. I would have never guessed that she was agoraphobic - especially to the point which she expressed. Now that's positive thinking. I hate crowds but cannot fully relate to what she had to overcome. What strength. What admiration on my part.
I wish I had all the details in order to accurately share Shauna's story. There was a huge number of widows and shut-ins that I would go visit at least weekly. I would go to uplift them - or at least that was my intention. But I always saved Shauna for last or visit when I was the one who needed to be uplifted.
She kept records and journals that she didn't want anyone to look at until after she was gone. She was such a great inspiration. Her story needs to be told. I had always thought that someone should interview her for an article in the Ensign Magazine or tell her story in any one of several themed "Chicken Soup for the Soul" books.
I had been told that Shauna had outlived her disease by 17 years. I don't remember the name of the disease, but it seems to me that the tissues would swell to the point of choking out all of her other organs. We were roughly the same age, and yet she was hooked up to oxygen while I was breathing on my own. She remained active as long as her body would allow.
She had such a positive attitude and would always get dressed, because "only sick people wear pajamas all day"
I was also told that she hadn't gone back to get her nursing degree until after she had been diagnosed. She wanted to help people and make them feel better, and served others for as long as she was able.
Laughter truly was the best medicine. It was what kept her going - in addition to refusing to allow anyone or anything to take her down.
I also let the words to this song fill my mind each day. I asked Jenna to color a sign that says: Daily Proverbs. I change the thought every other day and try hard to apply the quotes to my life. I really am trying to think positive.