Three Things to Remember When Your World Gets Turned Upside Down

Every so often, life throws us a curve.  Sometimes we can duck out of the way and miss getting hurt.  Other times, we’re not so lucky.  For whatever reason, we are in the cross-hairs.  Sometimes it’s the loss of a loved one, sometimes it’s a terminal illness.  No matter what, we’re in it for the long-haul.

Upside Down House

Photo: Pascal Willuhn (Creative Commons) on Flickr®

It Started with a Phone Call

I was at work when my cell phone rang.  It was December 24th, 2011.  Visions of family get-togethers and Holiday time off danced in my head.  The call was from my aunt.  In a tearful voice, she called to tell me that my uncle had fallen out of bed.  He was sleeping and had some sort of violent seizure-like episode.  She found him with his face buried in the carpet, blood running out of his nose.  His lower legs and feet were still on the bed.  He was unable to move.

A Little Background Information

My aunt and uncle are like my second set of parents.  I lost my mom to colon cancer seventeen years ago.  She was in the final stages of recovery when her stomach began to hurt so bad she was admitted to the hospital.  The doctor thought it was just a side effect of some of the medicine she was taking.  He was wrong.  Dead wrong.

She had developed an incurable blood clot in her intestines.  She only had a day or so to live.  It. Was. Horrible.  As her oldest son, I was the one who told my mom there was nothing they could do for her.  Telling my mom that she was going to die was the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do.

After she passed, my aunt and uncle took me and my young family under their wings.  My dad was having a very tough time dealing with my mom’s passing.  That’s a whole other story.  My aunt and uncle were there for us.  And have continued to be very close to us ever since.  They are wonderful people.

That Was only the Beginning

My uncle was in a hospital or rehab center for nearly SIX months.  He came home in late May but was still unable to walk.  He lost a great deal of weight and muscle mass.  He was thin, frail-looking and confined to either a bed or motorized wheelchair.

He had trouble with all the day-to-day activities that most of us take for granted.  Like eating, brushing our teeth, walking, and going to the bathroom on our own.  His world was completely upside down.

Why do I tell you all this?

I share this with you because, in the BLINK OF AN EYE, your life could be changed forever, too.  While I truly believe that everything happens for a reason, I’m still having trouble finding the answer in my uncle’s situation.  Perhaps someday I will figure it out.  Until that day comes (if it ever does) there are three things that I DO have figured out.

  1. Yesterday is gone.
  2. Today is a gift.
  3. Tomorrow may never come.


Every day is a gift.  We need to make the very most of each twenty-four hour block of time and not squander the minutes away.    We really don’t know when our time will come.  So I am suggesting that we all do the following:

  1. Exhibit GENUINE love every day.  Don’t just tell your wife or husband and kids that you love them.  SHOW them love.  Hug them. Kiss them.  Be there for them.  Go to the soccer matches, the dance recitals.  Take the time to put down your phone or put away your work-related concerns and listen to them.  Be present.  Look into their eyes.  Let them pour their selves out.  Take it all in.  Then pour yourself into them.
  2. Stay calm and carry on.  Don’t sweat the small stuff (and you know 99.9% of the ‘stuff’ is small, right?).  Keep your temper under control.  Take a deep breath and – move on.  Spending your energy on negative ideas or thoughts is a waste of brainpower.  Don’t go there.  Focus your time and energy on the positive things
  3. Think about creating a life plan.  Truth be told, most of us spend more time planning our family vacations than we do our life.  Crazy isn’t it?  I suggest you check out Michael Hyatt’s e-book Creating Your Personal Life Plan – A Step-by-Step Guide for Designing the Life You’ve Always Wanted.  It’s free.  You can get a copy of it by clicking here.  You just need to subscribe to Mr. Hyatt’s blog updates.  And, trust me; you’ll want to do that — his blog is top-notch in every way.

Sorry if this post is a bit of doom-and-gloom.  I think every so often, we need a wake-up call.  Something that shakes us up.  So we can snap out of our daydream existence and move on to something more meaningful and productive.

Update as of July 12, 2012

My uncle suffered a setback and is back in the hospital.  My wife and I sat with his wife and kids (and other family members) most of this past weekend.  It was a roller-coaster of good and bad news.  As of this writing, he’s doing better.  But he’s not even close to being out of the woods yet.

I will sure appreciate your positive thoughts and prayers in the coming days.  There’s power in prayer and right now, power and strength are two things my uncle can use.

Your turn:  are you living the life you want?  Have you shown your loved ones how much they mean to you?  What can you do to make every day a positive, meaningful event?  You can leave a comment here.

About the Author

Michael Hawkins

I am a husband, father, writer, and blogger. I am passionate about helping people make good choices.

  • Lisa R

    If nothing else, I have figured this out over the past year. Last July, my husband was out of work, and we were putting all of our stuff into storage and preparing to go cross-country to stay with my parents while he looked for work. Fortunately, it took only one month, and we were heading to our new state and to a corporate apartment. I still don’t know how I managed to homeschool through the year which also included my miscarriage, another move into our current apartment, and more turmoil than I can even remember. I’m glad things have evened out for us now, but it sure taught me a lot about going for my dreams. I will pray for your uncle.

    • Michael Hawkins had a LOT going on at the same time. That’s crazy. I guess it’s true what they say: “If God brings you TO it; he will also bring you THROUGH it.”

      Thanks for your prayers. We surely appreciate them. I just spoke with my cousin — my uncle is doing well today. Which is amazing considering all the stuff he’s been through the past week.

      Last night, he had his colon removed. I pray that this will be a turning point for him and he can finally get better and back on his feet.

      Thanks for your kindness!