Sometimes it’s very hard to ignore the bad things. But if we cling on to the small things, we can always find our happiness.
By Mindy Henderson, Photo by Vanessa Todd
“You can’t wait until life isn’t hard anymore before you decide to be happy.”
I wish I could take credit for that quote. This quote and the woman who said it are the absolute definition of what the truth actually is about things that suck. It comes from a woman I saw a couple weeks ago on the show America’s Got Talent. A singer who calls herself Nightbirde. She brought tears to my eyes the first time I saw the clip of her performance of an original song called “It’s OK.”Her story, though, is the amazing part.
She had cancer three times before the age of 30 and is currently living with cancer in her liver, lungs and spine. She continues to undergo treatment. While she was at it, though, she decided she’d live her dream of becoming a singer.
The name Nightbirde was inspiration from a dream she had of birds singing outside her window at night, as if it were the morning. The desire to “be somebody that could sing through a dark time because I was so full of hope and assurance that there would be a morning” is how Nightbirde was born.
“I have a 2% chance of survival, but 2% is not zero percent. 2% is something…and I wish people knew how amazing that is.”
That is the essence of this column.
We all have difficult circumstances from time to time. To be able to see the good while in the midst of the bad—to have hope in the face of what seems hopeless and to continue living while we suffer—is brave. It’s what I try to strive for every day.
There are always things to feel bad about. There is more bad at certain times than others. Sometimes there is so much bad we can barely breathe. If you are in the midst of something that feels like you have a 2% chance of surviving, take that 2% and run with it. Live as if you’ve been given the strength to survive. Find joy in the small things. Those small things add up to a whole lot.
As I’ve said before, two realities can coexist at the same time. You can live in struggle and fear and frustration. At the same time, there can be love and beauty and an infinite number of things to be grateful for. Don’t fight against or deny those things. They exist whether you acknowledge them or not. If you let them into your space, the light they bring can be so healing. There are people who didn’t wake up this morning. If you did, you have one thing right there to begin your gratitude list with. Look at your situation, no matter how dire. Know there is a beginning, a middle and an end to that particular journey. Don’t wait until you make it through the journey to begin living again.
Mindy Henderson lives in Austin with her husband of 17 years. They have a daughter at Texas State University, a puggle named Mr. PapaGeorgio and a cat named Birdie. Mindy currently works as a speaker, writer, coach, host of The Truth About Things That Suck podcast and is a guest contributor to We Are Austin. This column is a tool she is excited to use regularly to help us all uncover those sucky but surprisingly beautiful circumstances. Connect with Mindy on Instagram at @mindyhendersonspeaks, or on LinkedIn.