I take nothing for granted.

Today, my eyes opened at 7:48am. I looked at the clock, then closed them again and said “thank you.” Today was a normal day… like so many others, starting the same. With my eyes closed, I said a prayer for my mom, my family and my friends, that today will be a day of health and strength. It’s my first thought. “Thank you.” I live in abundance. Even the things that are missing in my life are not missing at all. They are there… they arrive just as I need them, and go when I am finished with them. Even if I don’t understand the timeframes… they come and go just the same. I say thank you for the negatives in my life, for the storms I have to learn to weather. I am not always sure how or why, but I know I am to learn from it. And from those I have watched close to me as they lost people in their own lives. Sometimes it is harder to watch someone else go through it than it is to do it yourself. There are often no words you feel are good enough to share your love and light in times of such darkness.

I sat beside Laura and her family as they went through some of the darkest days they had known just 4 years ago when she lost her father. During that time, I remember walking into his hospital room, as he was being kept alive by machines so the organ donation could begin. I was alone. It was just me and him. I touched his hand and said goodbye. I shared my love for him and thanked him for being in my life. I was a witness to that moment in my life where I understood what it was to see pain, to hold it in my own hands, and have no words to make it go away. I grew through the darkness and found light within the tragedy. I learned strength, I learned gratitude. I learned a deeper love for all that is unanswered along the journey. I am thankful for Dad M. in my life. I am thankful for being a part of the process. I don’t take that highest level of learning for granted anymore.

I have countless times attended a funeral… saying goodbye to loved ones, wondering how my friends and family members who were directly affected on a daily basis could be so strong. I learn from all of them. I accept that loss is a part of life. I just struggle with the extreme pain some of us have to hold for as long as it takes. A high school friend just recently lost her husband, the father of her child, to a car crash. Another lost his father, and another her favorite aunt all within a few weeks of each other. I sat by helpless again as one of my players lost her best friend, someone she gave her heart to. She is too young to know how to lose the one she loved. That kind of pain is hard to justify. I feel badly that I am so helpless. Through the pain, we send love, and light, and hope, and prayers. It’s what we do for each other. It’s how we feel better about the fact that we can’t change it, we can’t bring them back. I don’t take love and understanding for granted anymore.

There are times when I think about picking up the phone to say hi to someone I haven’t spoken to in far too long. I get busy, and often forget. Life goes by and soon enough, it’s years since we have talked. And then, we realize that we have nothing to talk about anymore. So we just don’t bother. And that becomes ok. And really, it is. As people and places come and go in our lives, we find ways to move on to something or someone else. Sometimes situations that once were everything to us just don’t serve us any longer. Most importantly, when we continue to be flexible and malleable in life, what we really find we can’t take for granted is the safety and comfort we feel we need. Things change. People come and go, both to death and to choice. It’s a part of the giant life cycle we are somewhere in the middle of. And instead of doing, maybe if we just start being, we will embrace the changes as they happen. And then, only then, we won’t take anything for granted anymore.

Happy Thanksgiving… Every day.

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