For as long as I can remember whenever I would complain about something -- a boy, a boss, a broken heart -- my mom would say something like, "But you're so blessed hon. I know it's hard but think of all that you have to be thankful for: your health, people who love you." Her words of motherly wisdom would usually be met by my words -- which as is often the case with we daughters with a little less life experience -- were not quite as wise as hers. "I know, I know," I would say. "But I just wish I had..." Fill in the blank: A better job. Better book deal. Better life.
When life is going well, it can be hard to see just how well it really is going. You may not appreciate how great a job is until you lose it. Or appreciate your spouse until he or she is gone. You may be disappointed in your son or daughter's college major, until they decide to drop out altogether.
Or in my case, you may not appreciate your health until it decides to go on strike -- at least that's how one of my doctors described it.
When I was diagnosed with mononucleosis months ago I tried to maintain my sense of humor. My friends certainly did their part to help. I have heard enough kissing jokes to last me a lifetime. Not to mention more, "Aren't you too old to have mono?" retorts than I can count. But when I was hit by a car a couple of months later, let's just say I wasn't laughing so hard anymore. One of my friends helpfully suggested that as the song in The Color Purple goes, perhaps "God is trying to tell you something," specifically, maybe a higher power was trying to send the message that I needed to slow down and take stock of my life, and when the mono didn't do the trick he decided to "drive the point home -- literally." (For the record, although I know there are a few of you out there who've probably muttered "I hope she gets hit by a bus!" in response to something I've written that you've disagreed with, as far as I know the accident wasn't politically motivated.)
But here's the strange thing. This has without question been the most challenging few months of my life, not just in terms of my own health but in terms of some of the health challenges facing those closest to me, and yet this is the first Thanksgiving in which I have felt the measure of peace I do this year. Why?
Because I finally have enough life experience to appreciate the words of wisdom my mom has been trying to impart for a lifetime. I appreciate how much I have to be thankful for: the people who love me and have helped me through the last few months, the fact that I'm healing and that my accident wasn't worse, and the clarity and wisdom to finally appreciate it all.
So my Thanksgiving wish for all of you, is that whatever trials, tribulations and challenges you may be facing this year, that you find a moment of peace this Thanksgiving to take stock, feel gratitude and give thanks for what you have, too.
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