Gratitude makes the journey better and so does kindness

Tag: vulnerability

Reminders To Be Grateful

20151004_173835There is nothing like a visit to the Emergency Room to remind one of the things to be grateful for. More so when the issue turns out to be rather minor compared to what could’ve been.

There is also the hidden message in the very happening that one should heed. Yes, I am ‘the one’ in this case. While arranging little boy’s room last night and multitasking as I do at times, I wrongly assessed the height of a staggered piece of furniture. The knee that took the brunt of it made a sound that told of my mistake. A crunch of sorts that didn’t bide well. Yes, it hurt.

The next logical step was the ER. It is never a jolly scene there. You wait, you see a lot of suffering, rushed and exhausted medical staff, and people from all walks of life humbled by various health issues. Sobering indeed. We were third in line.

My husband and I were planning on a date for last night. It became one, but we wrote none of the terms other than those pertaining to togetherness. In sickness and in health, for better or worse. Grateful? Of course. Our date came with neon lights, waiting rooms, more waiting rooms and some unsmiling faces. On the plus side, we got some good reading time. A mom’s life allows for little leisure time so if I have to break a bone or stretch a ligament for it, so be it, the wisdom from above concluded.

As I sunk into my book beautifully titled ‘The gardener and the carpenter’ by Alison Gopnik, I came across soulful bits that soothed both heart and knee: ‘Loving children doesn’t give them a destination; it gives them sustenance for the journey.’ yes, it is a book about children, parents, and the bond between them, the mysterious, larger than life self-sacrificial love that takes the latter to the ends of the earth and back. Sustenance for the journey… The very words bumped into the worry ripples that mothering and homeschooling create occasionally and peace settled. It will all work out somehow in the end.

The wait in the ER allowed for slowness, the kind I rarely get. I suddenly had time. Granted, it was spent in life’s monetarily tight pocket, along with other humans whose faces betrayed pain and worry. You’re alone when you hurt and then you’re not.

In the ER under those neon lights, the hurt ones share the small space where gratefulness gets a renewed license and a sudden return to the importance of basic needs is guaranteed. Pain takes you to a place where few things matter. You’re present but somehow you appear in a smaller size, as if shrunken by forces you will never understand fully but are willing to learn about, especially during the shrinking. Then you get better and you forget all about the crisis that made you feel small and vulnerable. Or perhaps you don’t.

20161107_120750The X-ray room is intimidatingly minimalistic. Everything glides. Bed, big X-ray machine, the technician’s shoes, reminders of the barely moving patients that pass through. So many broken parts… you slide the people ever so gently into the room and get the machines to hover over them so they can be put back together. Fragility redefined.

I tell myself I will not be slowed down for long. My mind allies with me to get the body to believe it can move fast soon enough. There’s boys and pup and so much life bubbling. Gratefulness abounds. Counting my blessings while the big X-ray machine whirs. Get back, get the better than expected news, hobble out the door not before pushing the big green button. Leaving a world of pain behind. Gratefulness and sadness for what lies behind. For what lies ahead. Life is to be grateful for. Every day, every bit of every day and every instant that renders us alive after churning our souls through the pain and fear machine.

20161107_120416I remember reading this a while ago… ‘Some people grumble that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have roses…’ (Alphonse Karr). It is true. Life is not about being happy regardless. It is about finding bits of happiness among the potholes in the road that may or may not have you break your leg as you fall into them. Because you were too busy counting the birds in the sky, or the stars, or you were watching for the approaching storm. Either way. Life happens.

Things I’ve Learned. Happy New Year!

StubbornIt is almost New Year’s Eve and winter has somewhat caught up with us bringing frozen sunny mornings to our doorstep.

It is eerily humbling to be waiting for winter the way it once was in a place that is never going to be the way it once was… People and places change in the bitter sweet dance of time, and no matter how stubborn, we are all twirling like snowflakes in a snow storm, landing where we least expected and poised (if we make it so) to make the best of it.

The year comes to an end. It’s always with a bit of regret that I look back, choosing to see mostly the things I’ll leave behind forever. This time though I want to hum the better song as I walk along. The things I’ve learned, the ones I take with, the ones that make me better, or so I feel.

Lost and foundIt’s a matter of making peace with yourself and life. Not crying over what cannot be changed. The prayer comes to mind, the one I so often saw as difficult to accomplish when changes made me bend under their implacable weight and what was left of me was no more than a twig seemingly breakable by the first gust of wind. It’s never like that though…

Now I know…


That the worst of days has, like the happiest, has only 24 hours that it can howl at me. That is, at best, a ladder with 24 rungs that I leave behind one after another as I climb towards a better day.

That if I need someone to tell me I can do it or hold my hand (or heart) as I do it, all I have to do is ask. That might be one of the hardest things to do, which is why it is one of the biggest gift someone can give. It’s the give-get thing. An unsinkable truth of life indeed.

That we are solely able to steer off courses that take us to where we do not want to go. All we have to do is stop, breathe, and have the courage to look around, asking loud enough ‘Is this where I want to be?’ If not, why dawdle? Of all the 24 rungs we climb, if there is at least one left, we can make it a day.

That when I smile, everything gets better. That someone will smile back. It’s never to be taken for granted. Or forgotten. The world is a smile better when we make it so. It’s a matter of will. And courage to be vulnerable enough to let yourself be seen. Smiling. Crying. It’s the same face that does it, the same heart that powers both.

That there is a gift of calmness in a crumpled leaf that I will never find anywhere else. When you step outside and pick one up, it will tell you stories of life and death, of the inexorable nature of seasons, of being just a wee song in the large orchestra that would sound different, even in an imperceptible way, if you were not there.

That I can get lost in a sea of others, but I am still my own. When you are, you are your own colour to a world that you joined as unique once upon a time. Add your own, believe that you can.

SeeThat I am able to see. With me eyes, with my heart, with my hands in the dark. As long as the mind is open to it.

That clouds are lessons, so big that only a sky could hold them all. Like you or I, they speak time, except that they seem to explain it better. Things come and go, nothing stays forever. Of course I know that. And just like that, of course I pretend to forget. Because it is both soothing and scary, a flavour that we have to learn to use as we go so that each bite becomes a gift. If each bite is to become a gift.

That when I open my arms for a hug, someone will fall in there, soft-hearted and eager, and will emerge feeling worthy. Because of that hug. Which I could give because I know the taste of it. Because someone, somewhere, had gifted me the same.

That seeing the sunrise is as precious as being born. Every day, another chance to make it better. There are 365 sunrises a year. Every year.

BeautyThat having my children call the most urgent ‘Mom, come see the sky!’ means that sunsets are reminders of shared life, love and the wonder of a world we get to see once more through the eyes of those who never hold back unless we make them think they should. Which is a sin.



to beThat precious is not a word for diamonds, or things made to be expensive. It is what defines morning walks with my sons, their arms wrapped around my neck at night, or the four of us waking up by a lake, soft whispers infusing the emerald air and having us know that as long as we can see that together we are on the side of life where we should be.

That speaking of life not just as you see it but as you feel it is a must. Vulnerability makes us stronger.

That’s how much I’ve learned this year, that’s what I’m taking with me to the next. To build on. To learn of so much more.

LightsHappy New Year!

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