Gratitude for health
A few weeks ago, I took a back pain workshop. The instructor had us go around in a circle and say what was wrong with our backs. Everyone rattled off a grocery list of fused vertebrae and spinal surgeries and car accidents and painkiller addictions and decades of discomfort from degenerative conditions I’d never heard of.
And then, there’s me. Nothing wrong, really, except that I spend way too much time on the computer.
I left the workshop feeling simultaneously thankful for my health and guilty for neglecting my spine, the foundation of my body. A few days later, I rigged up a standing desk using an extra shelf and my yoga blocks, vowing to take better care of myself and squander my spine health less.
Last week, a high school classmate of mine lost her fiance. He died in a car accident, turning from her future to her past on a dime in one tragic instant of terror and crushed metal.
Every single day, I read her Facebook posts about the loss she’s experiencing as she processes her grief. Normally I’d write these off as oversharing and, while sympathetic, would hide them from my feed after the first day or two.
But the story of this decades-old-barely-acquaintance catches at my heart; the way she describes her fiance and their life together and their love reminds me so much of my own husband, my own marriage. It’s far too easy to imagine myself in her situation, and even the briefest thought of Dan not being in my life immediately puts me in tears.
Dan carpools with a guy from work every day who picks him up from our doorstep. Yesterday, though, Dan asked if I could drop him off at a different carpool location to catch a ride with some other guys.
“What happened to Bob?” I ask as I pour his coffee.
“It’s his son-in-law,” says Dan. “I guess he’s been fighting lymphoma for about 2 years, and he only has a few days left now. The guy’s 34. And his wife, Bob’s daughter? She’s 23. She’s going to be a 23-year-old widow with a 2-year-old.”
“Jesus,” I say, because there’s no other possible response.
You know how these kinds of stories swirl through your life in a flurry, then wisp away again? This is one of those weeks. One of those months. And their darkness accentuates my own life’s light, reminds me to feel thankful for living.
So today, I’m so grateful for my health. My life. The life and health of my husband, our girls, our families and friends.
I’m thankful for this day.