THANKFUL FOR HEALTH
Day 349 of 365 days
Think back to the last time you had a major cold or flu – the last time you had a fever and body aches so bad your hair hurt. The thousand daggers in your throat, the puffy, burning eyes, the roaring headache, the plugged sinuses and clogged lungs, the crippling fatigue. In the throes, you likely couldn’t imagine (as most of us do) what it was ever like to be healthy. You could scarcely remember what life had been like three days ago when you were lifting weights, lifting your kids, laughing at work, entertaining at home, sleeping soundly. Fast forward, and it’s a Bermuda Triangle of mental discouragement and physical misery. And this is just a cold or flu… (Many people deal with so much worse….) Still, it’s a relatable illustration of an all too common truth: we tend to take our health for granted until it’s suddenly gone.
The challenges of this year have been beyond stressful in many ways. Yet I look out the window and catch the sun’s rays; I see a blue sky and notice the breeze moving the leaves. I wonder, 'Would I be attentive to these things—would I be noticing the crisp autumn air—if things hadn’t unravelled as they have this year?' I truly doubt it. So, today I’m thankful for my health!
What does it mean to be thankful for your health? A lot, I think. At its most basic level it can be a “There but by the grace of God go I” feeling we get when someone we know dies of a heart attack or gets cancer. The news jolts us into awareness of our mortality, health being what keeps us on the other side.
Being thankful for our health, however, means more than gratitude for being alive itself. On yet another level, it means appreciating the capacities allowed by our health – the cognitive ability to practice our profession and remember our children’s names, the physical ability to walk up to six flights of stairs when the elevator is being serviced (or when we just feel like it). It’s the security of knowing we can travel to remote places and deal with whatever conditions we encounter. It’s the freedom to put on a pair of skates or skis and try something new without getting wrapped around fear of frailty. It’s about the confidence that we have the strength to move most of our stuff when the need arises and take care of our children, tend to our property, and still have the energy to enjoy something of everyday life.
Make a list later tonight (or whenever you’re moved to do so) of all that your health has done for you this year. What has your health allowed you to try, to experience, to practice, to see, to explore, to feel, to accomplish, to share, to create?