A client, a stranger, a friend…..nothing in common but me and how grateful they are for their life. Each of these people has offered a different perspective to me, and has made me abundantly aware of how much I have to be grateful for. Often times, we don’t realize how much we have to be grateful for until it’s gone. I’d like to share their stories with you, and hope that you too will become a little more grateful than before.
My client – At the ripe old age of 87 he’s come to a point in his life where he needs to move on. He’s leaving the house in which he and his wife shared so many memories. His wife passed a few years ago, and he’s taking his clothes, toiletries, food, a few pictures and some trinkets and moving into an assisted living facility. When I met him for the first time, what I recognized about him right away was a sense of peacefulness. He was fully aware and accepting of his situation, and he was grateful for the years he shared with his wife, his time in his home, and the friends and neighbors around him to whom he was giving all of his personal belongings. The material things didn’t matter to him anymore, just life as he knew it today. He didn’t want to sell any of his belongings; he just wanted to give them to someone who needed them. I left with an umbrella and some fragrant bath soap at the end of our organizing session.
He was dying, yet he had a smile on his face.
A stranger – I met him just the other day. He was retiring at 53, not because of his wealth or because he could, because of his health. I am not sure what his illness was, but he and his wife told me that he was on the waiting list for a liver transplant. He was dying, yet he had a smile on his face, brightness in his eyes, and a life energy that glowed around him. I told a friend about the experience – telling him that I didn’t think this stranger was going to die. My friend’s perspective was that he was at peace. He was accepting of what was going on inside of his body, and he was grateful for everyone and every moment he could experience. He was thankful to have one more day, perhaps one more Thanksgiving, just one more sweet kiss from his wife.
A friend – I’ve known her for about three years; she has gone through a lot in her life. Abuse at home when she was growing up, abuse from partners in her past, a rough life, and currently almost homeless living in an abandoned home with no working kitchen, no air conditioning, and no plumbing, but she’s still managing to scrape by day by day. Besides her magnetic personality, she has a guttural laugh that would make anyone smile, and a way to find humor in her current living situation. I think that’s what keeps her going because even during the toughest times in my life, I don’t know how I would have survived what she has. It just goes to show you what being grateful can do for a person’s demeanor. She is grateful for any help that someone gives her, she is grateful for any job that comes her way, and is grateful for a hot shower and hot food when she can get it. She also gives of herself for which I am thankful, and those around her are too. She is very talented, and I know she is going to rise above all of this one day very soon.
All of these people whose paths have crossed mine, make me more grateful for the beautiful children I have, the wonderful partner I have in life, the healthy food I have available to me, the elements that sustain me, and the wonderful clients and friends that teach me valuable life lessons without even knowing it. Last but not least, the random strangers that I meet, who have no idea how they have influenced my life. For them and everyone who has helped me along the way with their gratitude and sharing, I would like to extend my gratitude back to them and am truly thankful for every human connection I have made in my life. Without these connections, I would not be who I am today.