06/06/2014 10:32 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Gratitude for Blessings to Count

Maya Angelo, at one point, was feeling defeated and so she consulted a minister.

He told her to try to keep perspective by counting her blessings and then he suggested one. "How about being grateful you can hear?" he said.

Angelo smiled at the minister and said, "The agent of madness has been routed."

When I heard about this exchange I loved the idea of countering defeat with perspective by relying on the almighty blessing count.

The exchange also made me think about what good fortune it is to hear. I know a woman who has been hearing impaired since she was a baby and it has always made her feel on the outside looking in at life.

What's more, the disability has made it a struggle for her to fight for her rights. Case in point: Her husband left her one day and took the kids with him. She didn't fight for the kids because she was afraid the courts wouldn't choose her as the custodial parent because of her disability. That was years ago and to this day her heartbreak in losing her kids is palpable.

Her story makes me realize how deep an ache there can be in hearing loss.

While the minister most likely offered up the blessing of hearing on a whim, he actually picked a compelling one because so many of us take our hearing for granted. It's for this reason it's a great blessing for us all to keep in mind when we feel defeated and need to recalibrate ourselves with perspective -- when we need to re-rout the agent of madness.

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