It’s very easy to take for granted things we have all the time, until the day comes when we no longer have those things anymore. Have you ever truly thought about what it would be like if you suddenly lost your eyesight permanently? How about your hearing? Or what your ability to move your legs? Having endured for some time now high levels of physical pain that have severely limited my day to day functioning in life, has gotten me to thinking about this and how I took all of those things and more for granted throughout most of my life.
On most days now, I struggle to stand for any period of time and walking is limited to very short distances. Tasks I once never put much thought to such as taking a shower, going grocery shopping, walking through a mall, and so many other things are now extremely difficult to do. It’s also been hard to go through the past four summers where most of my friends and acquaintances partook in things I wanted so badly to do but couldn’t such as hiking, biking, jogging, going to amusement parks, taking long walks on the beach, or even playing various sports. Thankfully though, all of this has taught me a very important spiritual lesson and that’s to be grateful for ALL of what I have, even if it seems like the simplest of thing.
So for that set of eyes I have that are still functioning, I’m grateful to God because there are more than 39 million people out there in this world who can’t see a single thing with the ones they have.
As for that pair of ears I have that are also still functioning, I’m grateful to God because there are more than 15 million people out there in the world who can’t hear a single thing with the ones they have.
And then there’s my legs. While they aren’t functioning as best as I know they could be, I’m grateful to God anyway for them as they still have the ability to be used because there are over 130 million people out there in the world who have legs that no longer function to walk or even stand.
The list goes on and on with the amount of disabilities that people endure in the world these days which so many of us won’t ever have to deal with. I have a lot more compassion now for all of those people in the world who can’t see, or hear, or are paralyzed, or have any type of disability because of my own pains I’ve endured. And ironically, I’m even grateful for having all these pains and limitations in the first place because of how long I once lived my life completely oblivious to how good I really had it, as compared to how many people were suffering so much more in the world around me.
I have a gratitude journal now that I write in every single day. When each of my days come to an end, I open that journal and give thanks to God by writing at least nine things I was grateful for during that day. And I’ve been doing this for several years now and don’t plan on ever stopping. In fact, one of those things I’m grateful for right now that I’ll be writing in my gratitude journal tonight is my ability to use my hands as it has allowed me to type one more entry into this spiritual blog.
God willing, I don’t believe I will ever take for granted anything anymore that I have in my life. Having gone through the temporary loss of much of my normal state of being has given me a very deep appreciation for what I still have. Even more importantly, my heart is filled with a lot more love, light, and compassion now for all those people who live in the world with some form of a disability.
So the next time you find yourself being ungrateful for anything, I encourage you to take a moment, breathe, and try to “see” all the things you still have that so many others might not have in this world. And in all seriousness, if you are reading this right now with your eyes, be grateful for at least that, and understand there are 39 millions others who won’t ever be able to do the same.
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson