By guest blogger, Kelly Buckley
After my son Stephen passed away on July 4, 2009, I started to write about gratitude. An unlikely topic given the circumstances of my shattered life, but one I felt compelled to focus on nonetheless. I felt I needed to find something to hold onto, even in the darkest of days, and that would help me survive. I told my son Brendan, 12 at the time, that we would make it if we looked for the good that still remained, if we found just one little thing each day. And that started my family on a journey that has changed the course of our lives in ways we could not have imagined.
By sharing our journey, I have connected with tens of thousands of people all over the world, who write to me and tell me their own stories of resilience. I am humbled on a daily basis by the strength of others, who make a choice to allow themselves to once again be happy, no matter what has happened to them in the past. My son, who teaches me so much about being a compassionate and present human being, told me that if people write to me, I must reply. In his words, “You have to write back to them; because if they take the time to write to you, it means they are hurting like we are.”
And so I did. Two and a half years later, close to ten thousand emails have been sent. My second book about gratitude, Just One Little Thing, has just been released. In addition to the book, we have the Just One Little Thing Facebook community. We have over 9,000 members who proudly call themselves JOLT’ers. They come from 20 different countries and speak 18 different languages. Each day, I ask them a simple question, “What’s the one little thing you are grateful for today?” The answers are both heartwarming and humbling. We are all teaching each other to reframe our perspective, and look for the good things in life, no matter what the circumstance. The use of gratitude helps illuminate the simple gifts in our lives that were there the whole time. We simply needed to decide to look for them. Whether it is death, divorce, financial issues or illness, there is always goodness that still remains, and can provide comfort to you.
And that is my job these days. To simply tell people they will be okay, and help them use gratitude to find light in their lives again. I see it as Stephen’s ripple, spreading the essence of his giving nature to those who need it.
As Charlotte Smarty Pants, you know all too well about the ups and downs that we face when raising families. We are all presented with a choice in difficult times, in how to respond to your reality. I believe that, like my own journey, we can use the wisdom that comes through pain to create a positive ripple in the world to help one another.
I would invite you to visit our facebook page, or my website and learn more about the power of finding “just one little thing” in your own life. For more information about my book, please have a look at the trailer below, or visit Amazon.
Wishing you a life filled with blessings,
Thank you Kelly, for being such an inspiration to so many and for sharing your story with Charlotte Smarty Pants today. Smarties, remember, the KinderMourn Hope Floats Duck Race is this Sunday at the US National Whitewater Center. Starts at 2p, click here for details and we’ll see you there!