What Matters To Me

This post is dedicated to anyone who is in the midst of struggle, heartache, pain, and grief. Dark days of any kind. And especially to those who are searching for their gifts, for the meaning of life, or even the reasonn they are alive.

I apologize in advance if this–or any of my posts–comes across as preachy. I’m just a student of life–and a slow-learner at that–so I’m probably just about the last person on the planet who should be preaching to anyone about anything.

Anyway, you’ve been warned, so here goes:

I probably don’t know what your gifts are, my friend, but this I do know: You have some wonderful gifts to share with the world. Gifts that it badly needs. If you haven’t discovered them yet, I hope that you keep looking until you do, and when you find them, I know that you and the world will be better for it as you share them.

I can give clues to you as to where to look: The sources of your greatest pain, trauma, or sadness are often also the catalysts of one’s greatest gifts for the world.

I know that life can be hard. That is easy to say. It is especially easy to say for those who haven’t yet dealt with many hardships.

You won’t have to dig very deep into this blog to learn that my father left my mother with 3 young children and one still in the womb when I was the oldest child and only 4-1/2 years old, that I nearly died of Whooping Cough as a young child, had many lung collapses and endured two lung surgeries in my teens, got dumped by a fiance’, nearly lost my daughter to an incurable disease, suffered some business failures including one that drove me to personal bankruptcy and erased the financial resources of a lifetime of hard work, and most recently my Beloved had thyroid cancer.

I share these things so you’ll know that I haven’t been immune to dark days and that when I say that I know life can be hard, I have some idea about life not always being full of sunshine and fair winds.

But I also mention all that so I can say this: So what? Big deal. Virtually everyone has similar stories of hardship, pain, trauma, and heart-ache.

I believe that I am a better person for having experienced each of those very unpleasant things. I wouldn’t wish them on anyone, but they happened. I can’t change that. I can focus on what lessons I can learn from each and can have empathy for others who are going through their own tough times.

It isn’t the stories that matter. Not mine, and not yours.

What matters to me is what I choose to do with the miracle of each new day of life. I can choose to make the most of it and enjoy and share all I can of the many blessings each day offers; or I can dwell on those sad stories and how unfair, cruel, and ugly people and life can be; or I can even squander each precious day worrying about a future that may or may not even happen, living for a tomorrow that never comes.

Like everything else in life, the choices are mine. I won’t always be able to choose what happens to me and to those I love, but I WILL always be able to choose how I react to what happens, and what I do about it.

And with those choices comes an amazing life-transforming power.

To make my life and my world better.

Or not.

May I choose wisely.


About russtowne

My wife and I have been married since 1979. We have 3 adult children and 5 grandchildren. I manage a wealth management firm that I founded in 2003. My Beloved is a Special Education teacher for Kindergartners and First Graders. I'm a published author of approximately 60 books in a variety of genres for grownups and children. In addition to my family, friends, investing, and writing, my passions include reading, watching classic movies, experiencing waves crashing on rocky shores, hiking in ancient redwood forests, and the beauty of kindness and nature.
This entry was posted in Challenges, Choices, Dealing with Pain & Grief, Growth/Learning, Pain & Grief and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

30 Responses to What Matters To Me

  1. billgncs says:

    I have many comments — but I will start with this: Have hope on the thyroid cancer — I just underwent surgery and radiation for it. If is very treatable. We ( my wife and I ) will keep you in our prayers

  2. This was not preachy at all — it is a wonderful post — by sharing you have probably helped a lot of people. How is your wife — I, like billgncs will keep you in our prayers

  3. If I could I would have liked and liked and liked this post. Russ, thank you for writing this in the only way you could – in honesty, humility and gentle kindness. What makes your words of wisdom even more powerful is that you have gone through some of life’s dark days yourself and yet remain steadfast that the only way worth pursuing is one of hope, happiness and to choose to see good, meaning and silver linings even when you were brought to your knees. My dear friend, thank you. I send you all my blessings for good health, joy, and an abundant life for you and your dear family. Sharon

    • russtowne says:

      As always, your comments warmed my heart and brought a smile to my face, dear friend.
      I wish all the same blessings in abundance for you and all of your loved ones.


  4. Andrea Kelly says:

    I love this post – and I agree with LouAnn – it did not come across as preachy at all! As always, you speak from the heart with kindness, understanding, and wisdom! Sending prayers your way for you and your family 🙂

  5. boomiebol says:

    Great and insightful post! Life deals with us all in diverse ways…will be lifting your dear wife up in prayers.

    Thanks or sharing this!

  6. I loved this post from your heart Russ. Thank you for your words of wisdom and encouragement. xo

  7. You are so right Russ when you say your gifts are often where you have suffered the most and come through it….I believe that each of us can then share with others and help them to feel not so alone…I read the comment that said your wife’s thyroid has been removed and treated so hopefully there will be a complete healing take place…..Diane

  8. Rhonda says:

    Amen! And Bless you and yours Russ.

  9. manty67 says:

    What a wonderful blog. I am a true believer that you are who you are because of the things that happen to you. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  10. mindfuldiary says:

    This post is full of wisdom and I love your always positive attitude. No matter what. This is a true gift, that you share with us through your blog, from your heart, through your words and song lyrics. You brighten my life mr. Russ. hugs

  11. Gigi wanders says:


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