Thanks to you...
...I slept in a little this morning, until the impatient sunlight pestered me awake.
...I walked with the dogs along a country road, safe and free.
...I'll spend time with my family, maybe play some ping-pong with my kids or watch a movie.
Thanks to you...
...I grew up in a country where I (mostly) make my own choices.
...I live in a land where my dreams are limited only by my own lack of creativity, ambition and drive.
...my children face a future where almost anything is possible.
...I'm free to live my life because you gave your own.
I promise I won't forget. I promise I won't take it for granted.
I promise your sacrifice won't be wasted on me.
I wrote that post a few years ago, but it sums up my feelings so well, I wanted to share it again.
Memorial Day always triggers a little extra gratitude in me for a completely different reason, so here's another slightly-altered repost...
We spent that Memorial Day in 1998 with our kids and other families, swimming in a cold river, eating fresh pineapple, grilling burgers. That night we laughed and danced to Johnny Dee and the Rocket '88s.
Then a phone call early on Tuesday morning made me realize how much I had been taking for granted and how quickly life can change directions.
That Tuesday was sixteen years ago today, but at times it feels like yesterday. Tom left for work, expecting it to be like any other day, but it wasn't. He didn't expect the other car to come into his lane, didn't expect to spend a week in the hospital or the summer trying to heal and recover instead of building our home. He didn't expect to live with pain for the next sixteen years.
But that's what happened, whether he expected it or not. And the thing is, we got through it. We built our home... not that summer, but there were other summers... and I'm grateful for that.
We've spent more days swimming in cold water with family and friends, and evenings laughing and dancing. I don't think a day goes by when Tom isn't in some degree of pain, but somehow he moves on and doesn't let it stop him from doing what he needs, or wants, to do.
It wasn't the last unexpected detour in our road we've encountered, and I'm sure there are more waiting for us. I can't say I'm grateful it happened. I'd love to tell you something positive that came from it, but honestly, I haven't been able to see that ray of light yet. Perhaps it's shining where I can't see it. I can only hope so.
But life is just too short for grudges and regrets that burn holes in your heart, for dwelling on the past or the future so long that you miss your today.
It's too short not to pursue your passion even if you only have a few seconds free each day to do it.
Too short to sit back and wait for things to happen, or for someone else to do it, or to make excuses.
Too short not to love with your whole heart, leaving no room for pride or selfishness, always trying to understand, listen, forgive, and ask forgiveness.
Too short not to take care of yourself and those you love.
Life is just too short, period, and too wonderful to take for granted.
Happy 16th anniversary of a second chance, Tom. I love you!
(I've spared you the most graphic images of Tom. His face was split open. You're welcome. I took notes during those long days and turned them into an essay... "In the Aftermath of a Car Crash" )
Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.
~Gladys Bronwyn Stern
What are you grateful for?