|Posted by Tony White on January 16, 2013 at 4:45 PM|
I had a coffee with a fellow author the other day. During our conversation he told me he keeps my book by his front door. Having read my book, he said just walking by the cover on the way out is a reminder of how precious this life is. Gratitude for being alive - how lovely!
His words of gratitude reminded me of my brother in law. He recently passed away after a lengthy and courageous struggle with cancer. Not long after his passing one of his adult children found a little note in his home. It said simply. “Live each day graciously.” If you knew my brother in law, you would simply nod your head and say, “Yup, he did just that.”
What does it take to remind us of the gift of our life and the lives of others each passing day? Does it take illness or a tragedy on the six o’clock news? Can we awake each day with the thought of our many blessings rather than our concerns? Can we commit each day to trying our best to love through compassion, generosity and service to others? Can we simply be grateful for what we have instead of aching for what we don’t have?
When I was seriously ill in the hospital, recovering from my second transplant, I recall one of my family members saying to me, “You should try and be more grateful.You have a new lease on life and everyone is doing the best they can to help, remember, an attitude of gratitude?” It was tough to go there when I was still deep within my fox hole of pain and suffering. Faith and hope were all I could muster. In hindsight I must concede, it’s true, attitude can help you through the day and night, the light and the darkness.
The following is an excerpt from Elizabeth Lesser’s, best-selling book “Broken Open.” Where your attitude is, so be you. Where your attitude is so be your consciousness. No matter what has happened in life, you have the capacity to choose who you want to be. Allowing yourself to be guided by your core values unlocks a profound spiritual blessing – the blessing of living in the moment with grace, dignity, warmth, kindness and compassion.
Does this mean we can perfect an attitude of gratitude? I doubt it, nobody’s perfect. I can only imagine how difficult it must be for all those on the transplant waiting lists (and their loved ones) to be grateful for their current situation. I have been there and it is profound work to see opportunity, the silver lining within each challenge. However, one can try, perhaps by coming up with a daily reminder, a tool (like a book by the door, note on the mirror or morning prayer) to remind us that waking up each day is an opportunity not only to grow and participate in life but also to be as gracious as we can while we are at it.
PS I received a Christmas card that reads simply, “TODAY IS A GIFT.” Voila! A reminder!