a few weeks ago, i went to dinner with my very dear friend. though she’s about ninety pounds soaking wet, she’d take on a linebacker if she thought they crossed her friends in any way. she’s loyal to the core, scrappy, and utterly hilarious. oh and did i mention she does a mean robot dance?
though we were nearly inseparable when we worked together, that was years ago, and since then, it’s been a juggling act of work, family and life obligations that have made it a challenge to get together. when we finally do connect, it is as it always is: laughing, knee slapping and just enjoying each other’s company.
several days after we met up, i got a text.
“we were in a cab last night driving on the highway. a car cut us off. we spun around and hit the median. the back windshield shattered…”
my heart stopped. chills ran up my spine.
“i can’t believe we walked away without a scratch. we were so lucky.”
we toss around the word in everyday conversation with little regard for its depth of meaning. but then something like this happens, and you’re shocked into submission—submitting to the reality that life is truly fragile. that one minute, you can be completely fine, going about your business, and then all of a sudden, it could be over.
were you present for the moments that mattered? did you appreciate what you had?
many years ago, i read a book called “simple abundance.” it was all about how gratitude for simple things can change your whole perspective on life. as a way of putting theory into practice, the author issued a challenge:
write down 5 things you are thankful for everyday.
and so began the gratitude journal. every night before bed, i’d jot down a list. the entries ranged from major (a raise, a birthday spent with loved ones) to mundane (a delicious meal, something that made me laugh, no traffic on the way to work, a perfectly starry night).
after i ran out of pages, i didn’t go out and buy another journal. why? i didn’t need to. thinking about things i’m grateful for—big and small—things that i’m truly “lucky” to be blessed with, became a lens with which i looked at the world. and as i think about it, now i’m not putting pen to paper, but rather, fingers to keyboard. same message, different medium.
even during the most horrible of days, i never had a blank page. not once. sometimes we need only look around and those simple, elemental things—that we often take for granted—are right under our nose.
fresh green grass to twinkle your toes in.
cotton clouds that inspire dreams.
pure white snow that blankets tree branches.
bleeding sunsets that light up the sky.
little things that can be blindingly beautiful.
that doesn’t mean we ever stop striving, evolving, reaching for more….but on the way, remember the gifts are there. you just have to see and appreciate them.