“Difficult times have helped me to understand better than before how infinitely rich and beautiful life is in every way, and that so many things that one goes worrying about are of no importance whatsoever.” – Isak Dinesen
In my mind, fresh air means an open window. Closing all the windows and turning on an electrically powered machine to produce “clean” air feels counterintuitive. I can’t quite believe invisible microscopic monsters trigger my slow grade reactions. Obviously, I find it hard to acclimate to shutting windows – even in a single room.
As I observed my resistance, my thoughts drifted to Sara. Ravaged by severe joint pain, respiratory issues, and allergic reactions due to the inflammatory disease Ankylosing Spondylitis, Sara lived painfully but cozily 24-7 within the four walls of her apartment with nary an open window. She explains:
“As my disease has progressed I have found myself allergic to almost everything… smells, allergens, cleaners, wool, flowers… and now I’m simply allergic to the air, hence my confinement to my home. No open windows, no going outside, no warm sunshine on a beautiful day.”
Exposure to outside air interrupted Sara’s ability to breathe and mercilessly aggravated her pain. But, regardless of being confined to her home, Sara was quick to reassure,
“…home bound doesn’t limit your life, just your location.”
Even though she experienced constant discomfort, Sara made a conscious decision to choose joy, gratitude, and happiness and to spread these positive vibes to others in every possible way.
How do you consistently choose joy when the odds seem against you? Sara explained it like this:
“I choose the joy. When something is going badly and I’m dwelling on it, I think instead of something for which I am grateful. I swear to you, it’s as simple as that. You just have to decide today, and again tomorrow. And before you know it, you’ll have an attitude of joy more than any other attitude you have at your disposal.”
Sara was always touching others with her unwavering commitment to love, community, and joy proving that profound love cannot be confined within four material walls. Although we are strikingly different women, devoted to contrasting faith traditions, Sara mesmerized me too.
Sara died a year ago. I mourn the loss of Sara, but I know her spirit vibrantly lives on in her words and images, reminding us to be intentional and Choose Joy!
Clearly, Sara made peoples’ hearts her intent. Witness the power of her love in this moving video. Hear about the impact a blog can make on other peoples’ lives. Be sure to have some tissues by your side.
How do you choose joy? I would love to hear your thoughts.
Thank you for reading and sharing! If you enjoyed this article please subscribe for free updates by email. With love, Sandra
Image: Sara Frankl