Be grateful during the most trying times

Published 1:31 pm Friday, March 21, 2014

To those that know me, the topic of this column will come as no surprise. To those I haven’t met, maybe this will reveal something we have in common. For your sake, I hope that’s not the case.

I have let stress rule my life at times.

There, I said it.

If confessing this undeniable truth to thousands of people I’ve never met makes me weird, I can deal with that. I can simply say this is cheaper than talking to a psychiatrist. So, thanks.

My mother is quick to tell anyone, especially me, that I have always been an anxious soul. As a child, I was the consummate momma’s boy, hiding behind her when the lighting crashed, when a dog barked, or when… let’s just say I was skittish.

As I’ve grown up, my fears have changed and I’d like to think my reactions have as well. I look forward to storms, I want to own a dog, and I hope I’m less jumpy.

But that anxiety returns in the forms of stress and worry. It’s bad enough to deal with stress alone, but it truly takes its toll when you see the effects of it upon the faces of your girlfriend, your friends and your co-workers.

My girlfriend said something the other night that hit home. It’s something that’s been said for centuries, I’m sure, and it’s something I myself have said to others when they found themselves crushed under self-made pressure.

“Be thankful,” she said.

And she was right. (She often is, but this time she was really right)

I, like everyone else, have reason enough to be anxious, stressed and sad. But in two words she reminded me I, like everybody else, have far more reasons to be grateful.

There have been periods in my life where I have been the upbeat and optimistic me, and I will do my best to make sure that becomes the norm again, as soon as possible.

There will always be challenges that get in our way or slow us down, but we need to be grateful for them.

Lately, I have been stressed at this job. But I’m pretty sure if you look up the word ‘job’ in the Dictionary, it will (or should) say something about deadlines, stress, along with the loss of both sleep and hair.

This career has offered me chances to be the closest person in the world to the President of the United States. It has put me on the field during the Iron Bowl. It has let me ride in the back of a SWAT SUV as authorities made a successful arrest of an armed suspect. I’ve even had my Jeep lifted on to two wheels by high winds a time or three on the job.

But this career brought me to Alabama and let me meet so many new friends, and one special girl, who have changed me forever.

I guess I’m saying I have no doubt in my mind that any stress I, or you, encounter is worth it in the long run.