Be thankful for your health. Be thankful for your wealth. Be thankful for the things that are good in your life, and try to change the things that are not. I like to keep my blog light, airy, even jolly. But my life is not actually consumed by thoughts of baked goods (usually). I occasionally have serious thoughts. Lately, my thoughts are of two very inspirational people who lost their health, but not their spirit:
One – my grandfather, who died of cancer in 2002. I stopped by to visit him much more often as he neared the end, knowing that I would not have the chance for much longer. Many of my visits coincided with a visit from a physical therapist who worked with Papa regularly to help him maintain muscle movement. I think back on these times, as Papa sat in a chair and struggled to lift his leg to knee height. Sweat poured from his face as he counted the repetitions with a controlled breath. Part of me cries when I remember this, and part of me rejoices. He never gave up on life, even when the disease caused him extreme weakness and pain.
Two – Adam’s step father, who went to a Steeler’s game two weeks ago and was bumped by someone as he attempted to find his seat. He lost his balance and fell face first to land about three rows below. He was paralyzed at first, but after a few days, he was able to wiggle a big toe. Now, he is in a rehabilitation hospital. He has re-learned to dress himself, to eat with a spoon and fork, and to do countless other mundane movements which we take for granted on a regular basis. He has not yet mastered walking, but he related a tale in which he struggled for a half an hour to open a carton of milk. Eventually, he drank that milk. He is very proud to say that the carton did not win.
No matter how bad my day is, I am thankful for my health. I went to the gym yesterday and worked hard, even when I got tired, and I counted out the reps with sweat pouring down my face. My mentors are maybe not so lucky. But they sure are inspirational.