This morning I woke to the sound of birds singing in my backyard – literally that was the first sound I heard – even before my eyes opened. I stretched from head to toe, taking quick inventory – yes, everything was in working order – arms, legs, fingers, hearing. My eyes took in the brilliant cerulean sky framed by the bedroom window, blue sprinkled with the vibrant splash of fuchsia bougainvillea blossoms. A few last moments savoring the softness of the sheets beneath me, the cushiony warmth of the comforter over me, the quiet stillness of the dogs sleeping by the bed … and with a quiet “Thank You”, I swung my legs from the bed, planted my feet on the floor and stood to begin another day.
This is the tiny seed that begins each day – the joy that creates a party in my heart every single morning. Because, in this life of mine, each moment, each second is a gift.
You see, about six years ago, I found myself caught up in a whirlwind world of terror – medical tests, theoretical diagnoses, physician’s voices … an unknown chasm where it appeared anything could happen. Ominous words were bandied about carelessly - life expectancy, paralysis, blindness, malignancy – words fueled by and filled with terror and uncertainty. The final diagnosis was multiple sclerosis … and the words filled my heart with absolute gratitude.
Yes, I have a chronic illness. But that’s like saying I have blue eyes or fair skin. It’s merely a physical descriptor, not who I am. It does not define me.
Who I am is a woman who today has a beautiful, sunshine filled day to inhabit. I have flowers to smell, a home to care for, children to laugh with, fresh fruit to eat, books to read, the feel of a pen in my hand moving across paper. I have every reason to believe that tomorrow will arrive right on schedule, that the sun will shine (after all, I live in Phoenix!) and that love will fill my heart and my hours. Abundance fills ever waking hour – not wealth or extravagance, at least not by American standards – but absolute overflowing abundance.
I nurture that seed of gratitude daily, tending it with loving care, cultivating and encouraging it – not dwelling on the “could have been’s” but looking ahead to embrace the “yet to be’s”. Every morning I list not only my blessings, but my hopes as well … for, you see, it is the hope that fuels the journey. Laura Ingalls Wilder said it so well: “It is the sweet, simple things of life that are the real ones after all.” Let them fill your heart with gratitude.
Originally published as a Guest Post at Creating A Good Life ... it's a great site with lots of seriously good content ... go look around :))