Some days, like today, I am grateful simply to be alive. Now, I wish I could say that every day, but truth be told, all too often I can find something about which to kvetch or complain or bemoan…the work needed by my gradually-deteriorating lovely old house, or my declining bank balance, or my seeming inability to lose weight, etc., etc., ad infinitum. But not today. Today, I am so, so thankful to simply BE who I am, how I am…with all my faults and failings and aches and pains and signs of advancing age. Here I am…HERE…NOW…and all I can say is a heartfelt, “Thanks be to God!”You see, I have a beautiful friend, only 43 years old, who has been dealing with the terrible diagnosis of ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) for nearly two years, going from an active, non-stop wife, mother, friend, volunteer par excellence, etc. to life in a wheelchair, with deteriorating speech, the inability to do almost nothing for herself, periodic difficulty breathing, and the knowledge that life will continue on this downward path. And yet, she posts the most incredibly uplifting comments on her notebook pages through the ALS Association website.
Yesterday, her post spoke of living and laughing and loving…and of it being- for that day- enough. Even as tears filled my eyes in the reading, I could feel myself being grasped by the nape of the neck by Mother Lion God (since my trips to Africa, my surest and truest image of God-as-parent), lifted, and shaken, my teeth rattling, and then nudged forward into a new day, mindful of the uncountable blessings with which my life is filled. How can I possibly rue anything about my life situation? How can I possibly complain or feel sorry for myself? How can I fail to be mindful of the presence and blessing of God all around me, in me, with me?My hands can move, responding to my will. My legs can, too…walking, bending (admittedly with a bit of stiffness), stretching. My lips and tongue can form the words my mind envisions and chooses…and my breath comes unbidden, without my giving it a thought. How can I take any of this for granted when it is all such gift? Such blessing? Such holiness?
And so, for today, I breathe a prayer of deep, heartfelt gratitude and let go of those things which dampen my spirit and draw me into self-pity. For today, I picture dear Karen’s lovely, smiling face and draw from her the strength, the courage, to live life as fully as possible…living and laughing and loving with every ounce of my being. And for today, it is truly enough.