My right shoulder’s healing from a fall I suffered last week was interrupted when I awoke Sunday morning unable to see out of my left eye.
I spent a few frantic morning minutes rolling my eye around behind a closed lid and then, with the lid open, flushing it with cold water. Yet when I pried my eye open, hot pain clammed it shut.
With one eye open, with my hand choking the railing, I shuffled down the stairs, to the couch, where I would certainly die smelling the buttery scent of Belgium waffles which Cindy was baking in the kitchen.
However, I didn’t die and a short time later I sat upright in a leather Urgent Care examination chair wrapped in sanitary paper staring down a green and white linoleum floor.
The wooden door opened and a doctor in black scrub pants and black Reebok sneakers with scuffed toes entered. His feet stopped in front of me. The black laces criss-crossed tightly up the shoes and bloomed into lazy loops.
“So, what brings you in today?”
“I can’t look up without pain. I mean it’s even hard to open my eye at all.” I said to the black Reeboks.
“Can you lean your head back so I can take a look?”
He shined a blue light into my left eye and announced a had a cut across my eye that was infected. He dripped two drops into my eye, that first felt like hot soup, however the drops quickly cooled and made the pain go away like chicken noodle for both the eye and the soul.
“Here’s a prescription for some drops. After a few drops, you’ll be able to look up again.”
The doctor was right. After a few eye drops, I was able to see life above it’s ankles. However, his comforting confirmation, “…you’ll begin looking up again” has been on my mind and is something you and I might be able to glean some inspiration from.
In a recent letter you expressed how sometimes it’s difficult to remain positive. Your disease, like mine, is also progressive. And how progressive diseases are, “soul-draining, doubt-inducing, and press you to question self-worth.”
But maybe your letter and my eye infection came at the right time.
Look, it’s easy to look down. In fact, my physical therapist is always reminding me to, “look up” as I muscle through exercises. We look down to avoid eye contact. We look down to skirt judgment. We look down because we’re simply afraid to look up.
Looking up is a conscious decision. And maybe a defiant one. One that shows assuredness and self-belief. One that takes effort and awareness. By looking up we shift our perspective. We see how small we are and yet are filled with strength and comforted by the power and mystery of the big things around us.
In my nook of the November world, the tree tops flame with red, yellow, and orange leaves. The sky is transitioning to the hard dark of winter. And I realize that, like chicken noodle soup, looking up is good for the soul.
November is a fine month for us to start looking up. It can be tempting to wait for the New Year to resolve and shift our perspective. But you and I can’t afford to wait that long. Together let’s vow, right now, to take a small moment everyday, for the rest of the year, to look up.
Here’s my daily reminder:
November Book Promos:
Are looking for inspiration? Are you searching for a better version of yourself?
This month I joined literary forces for some best-selling authors to promote our books in, Become Inspired. Become You.
Memoirs, Biographies, Self-help books…oh my!
This month I joined literary forces with some best-selling authors to promote our books in the inspiring November Nonfiction Collection.
You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take…
A few months ago, with low expectations, I took a shot and entered “Bedtime Stories for the Living” in the highly regarded, highly competitive international book contest presented by Readers’ Favorite. Readers’ Favorite is an established force in the publishing industry. They have worked withPenguin Random House, Simon & Schuster, and Harper Collins, and have received the “Best Websites for Authors” and “Honoring Excellence” awards from the Association of Independent Authors.
Anyway, just before I was about to take a midday nap, I was informed that this suburban dad had won…
First Prize, the Gold Medal, in the Non-Fiction/Parenting genre!
The award ceremony is in November and is at Hilton Blue Lagoon in Miami, Florida.
It was totally unexpected. I’m totally honored. And I totally can’t wait for my kids to question my parenting skills so that I can gently remind them I wrote a Gold Medal winning parenting book.
Quote of the Week:
If you would like to share something with others (a photo, a poem, a song, a quote, etc.) that tosses some positive vibes into the world, please send your suggestions to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!
Are you a reader? Looking for your next good book to read or listen to? Check out my new page “Jay’s Book Shelf” for some book recommendations.
Here’s what I’m currently reading: The Road by Cormac McCarthy
I taught this book for years to my 12th grade students (hence the tattered, Post-it filled copy). Most of the students hated it. It’s not a beach read or one you could casual skim like Tik-Tok videos. I mean, at 18 years-old, I’d probably hate it too. This is an “old” person’s book. I think the longer you live, the more joy and heartbreak you experience, the greater appreciation you will have for this Pulitzer Prize winning novel. Also, if you haven’t heard, McCarthy’s novel “The Passenger” was recently published. It’s his first novel in 16 years.
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Jay Armstrong is a writer, speaker, former high school English teacher, and an award-winning author. Despite being diagnosed with a rare neurological disease, that impairs his movement, balance, eyesight, and speech–Jay presses on. The leader of the Philadelphia Ataxia Support Group, he hopes to help you find joy, peace, and meaning in life. For Jay, a good day consists of 5 things:
4. Hearing his three children laugh
5. Hugging his wife
(Bonus points for a dinner with his parents or a drink with his friends)
Jay hasn’t had a bad day in quite a long time.
You can also visit Jay at jayarmstrongwrites.com