Dale Carnegie met Lucile when they were both studying short-story writing in the Columbia University School of Journalism. Lucile enjoyed a grand and full life. She had studied the organ at the University of Arizona, conducted a speech clinic in town, and taught a class in musical appreciation at the Desert Willow Ranch, where she was staying. She attended parties, dances, and horseback rides under the stars. And then one morning, she collapsed due to a heart condition. Her doctor told her she would have to lie in bed for a year of complete rest, and offered her no assurances of ever being strong again.
Lucile was terror-stricken. She feared being an invalid…she feared death. She questioned why it had happened to her and what she had done to deserve it. She cried and became bitter and rebellious.
Then one day a neighbor of hers, a Mr. Rudolf, said, “You think now that spending a year in bed will be a tragedy. But it won’t be. You will have time to think and get acquainted with yourself. You will make more spiritual growth in these next few months than you have made during all your previous life.”
Rudolf’s words had a calming effect on Lucile. She created a new sense of values and began reading books of inspiration. She resolved to think only the thoughts she wanted to live by: thoughts of joy, happiness, and health. Each morning, as soon as she awoke, she forced herself to go over all the things she had to be grateful for—no pain…a lovely young daughter…her eyesight…her hearing. Lovely music on the radio…time to read…good food and good friends.
Years passed and Lucile recuperated and once again led a full, active life. But she always said of her year spent in bed: “I am deeply grateful now for that year I spent in bed. It was the most valuable and the happiest year I spent in Arizona. The habit I formed then of counting my blessings each morning still remains with me. It is one of my most precious possessions. I am ashamed to realize that I never really learned to live until I feared I was going to die.”
We can all take a lesson from Lucile without having to endure what she did. It simply comes down to counting your blessings and accepting what life brings you.
Photo credit: freedigitalphotos.net/Stuart Miles