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GOOD FATHER'S LOVE - June 8, 2006

The past eight weeks have been a learning experience for me. While I was away from home for radiation treatments, the spiritual, emotional, and social support was the answer to a prayer. I met others who had problems greater than my own. Some were making choices in dealing with obesity, drugs, job decisions, moral issues  . . . the list goes on.

This past weekend, I attended a high school commencement, commencement party, church service for graduates and a gathering of over 500 cancer survivors. Every affair stressed that we must make choices. We can choose to live or die. We can choose to start over. We can choose to succeed or stagnate.

Below is a story that was given to me by a doctor friend. It is a good illustration of choices:

Michael is the kind of guy you love to hate. He is always in a good mood and always has something positive to say. When some-one would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, “If I were any better, I would be twins!” He was a natural motivator. If an employee was having a bad day, Michael was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation. Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up to Michael and asked him, “I don’t get it! You can’t be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?”

Michael replied, “Each morning I wake up and say to myself, ‘You have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or . . . you can choose to be in a bad mood. I choose to be in a good mood. Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or . . . I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it. Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or . . . I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life’.”

“Yeah, right, it’s not that easy,” I protested.

“Yes, it is,” Michael said. “Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people affect your mood. You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line: It’s your choice how you live your life.”

 I reflected on what Michael said. Soon thereafter, I left the Tower Industry to start my own business. We lost touch, but I often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it.

Several years later, I heard that Michael was involved in a serious accident, falling some 60 feet from a communications tower. After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, he was released from the hospital with rods placed in his back.

I saw Michael about six months after the accident. When I asked him how he was, he replied, “If I were any better, I’d be twins. Wanna see my scars?” I declined to see his wounds, but I did ask him what had gone through his mind as the accident took place.

“The first thing that went through my mind was the well-being of my soon-to-be born daughter,” Michael replied. “Then, as I lay on the ground, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live or . . . I could choose to die. I chose to live.”

“Weren’t you scared? Did you lose consciousness?” I asked.

Michael continued, “. . . the paramedics were great. They kept telling me I was going to be fine, but when they wheeled me into the ER and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read ‘he’s a dead man’. I knew I needed to take action.”

“What did you do?” I asked.

“Well, there was a big burly nurse shouting questions at me,” said Michael. “She asked if I was allergic to anything. ‘Yes,’ I replied. The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breath and yelled, ‘Gravity.’ Over their laughter, I told them, “I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead.”

Michael lived, thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude . . . I learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully.

ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING -- “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”  --Matthew 6:34.

AFTER ALL, TODAY IS THE TOMORROW YOU WORRIED ABOUT YESTERDAY.

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