The Last Worst Day of My Life
by Christine Rhee
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I¡¯ll never forget the last worst day of my life. It was the day I realized that I probably could never have what I most longed for, something most people I knew seemed to take for granted.
Without it, my life stretched out before me like an endless road, and I had no idea how I was going to endure the long, arduous journey¡Ša journey that seemed to involve no joy or peace. But rather, only a haunting, hollow feeling.
It was a day I wanted to crawl into bed, cover up, and sink into the oblivion of slumber, of nothingness.
But the baby cried, the preschooler wanted to be read a story, and the dryer buzzed, signaling an end to a cycle.
The day couldn¡¯t have gotten worse, but it did anyway.
When I returned to the apartment, children and laundry in tow, I found I¡¯d locked myself out, and I had no key. My husband was away, working on a construction site, and I had no way to get a hold of him. I wanted to cry then and there, but my aversion to being embarrassed activated my self control.
Finally, the property manager was able to let us in. I looked around at the chaotic mess that greeted me, and again I wanted to just crawl into bed.
Visions of my husband coming home to crying children and a tornado-struck apartment stopped me, however.
It was then that I decided that just because I couldn¡¯t do anything to attain happiness for myself, didn¡¯t mean I couldn¡¯t do some things to help everyone else be happy.
So I set about, organizing and cleaning our little home, and then I went all out and prepared a steak dinner. My husband appreciated it so much that he took us all out later that evening!
That was a turning point for me. I started to live for opportunities to do something for others, and I experienced an inexplainable joy whenever the chance to serve others presented itself.
One day, a few years later, I was on a field trip with a large group of elementary school students. Our bus was hit from behind, and many students suffered from minor head injuries, whiplash, or shock.
Even though I had whiplash myself, there was a crisis at hand, and I set about administering first aid to the students. Only one other teacher had a first aide certificate, and we were at it for quite a long time. It took the ambulance over an hour to arrive.
As I offered ice packs, handed out blankets, propped up feet, and comforted shaken students and parents, I felt more alive than I had in a long time. My spirit seemed to radiate from within.
A colleague commented, ¡°You look better than I¡¯ve ever seen you,¡±
There have been many times, before and since, that I have experienced deep and abiding joy as a result of having the chance to serve others.
But an unexpected blessing has come about, as well. As my focus changed from myself to the Lord and to others, I began to grow and change. I found new purpose in my life, and have been surprised to find that I now am not able to only endure life, but to enjoy, and even crave it.
I have found Galatians 6:9 to be true: ¡°Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up¡± (NIV).
The road before me does not seem so long any more. In fact, it doesn¡¯t seem long enough!! I wish I could turn back the clock, to regain some of the lost years. But since I can¡¯t, I¡¯ll just enjoy the delicious present and future, and give it all I¡¯ve got.
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This is a powerful reminder. We are truly happiest when we focus on the happiness of others. Thanks for the lift and also for your kind comments on my Powerless Power piece. Keep writing!
Christine, this is such an excellent piece. Well posted under encouragement. Thank you so much for sharing this part of your journey with us. Deb
What, exactly, did you most long for on that last worst day? And thanks for the reminder that giving fills us up to overflowing.
Thank you once again for telling me something I need to hear. I do need to concentrate on helping others more and get the attention off of my life and the mess it is in. You always give me another option to look at. Yes, you are great at helping others and especially me. May God keep on blessing you with the words that I need to hear. Your sister in Christ, Mamie
Great article, Mrs. Rhee. I, too, love helping other people. Anytime I see someone in need, I do my best to help them out. Feels good to know that you've made a difference in someone's life--even if it's a small one. I'm sure those students were very grateful for what you did for them. God bless you, as you bless others. --Whitney
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