Sunday, November 26, 2006

Can someone be grateful...

...when that someone is sick?

Well, duh! Of course I can be grateful, even on days when my right leg seems to have a strange and unhelpful mind of its own, or when I'm too tired to do more than empty the dishwasher and check my email before stumbling into the bedroom for yet another nap.

I remember someone saying this to me, years and years ago, and thinking how obvious and inane it was - "The most important thing you choose in your life is your attitude." Obvious? Sure. Inane? Not on your life, it ain't!

Here's the thing. I could choose to focus on all the negative stuff in my life (and believe me, that's my default mindset). I could focus on how much I miss my work, or how much I miss my friends in the Bay Area, or how much I miss being able to wake in the morning, throw on a pair of running shoes and sweats and walk a mile in fifteen or twenty minutes. Hell, I could focus on how much I miss being able to drive across town, spend an hour with a friend, and be sure I'd have the energy to stay awake and drive back home!

But if that was where I focused my attention, I'd be dead, either literally or figuratively. And dammit, I refuse to let this illness control my attitude, even though it seems to have control over my body!

So here's my Gratitude List, a few days after Thanksgiving, but heartfelt and true nontheless.

I am grateful for:

David - my caring, supportive, smart and multi-talented husband, whose quiet, strong presence gives me strength

Zack - who has grown into exactly the kind of man I hoped he would. Beside his amazing artistic talent, and his quirky sense of humor, his capacity for love and affection seems boundless.

Emily, Zack's sweetie - a lovely and talented young woman who seems to appreciate all of those qualities in him, as well, and who has made him very happy.

Families. My birth family, now down to my sister, her grown children and grandchildren. I love them! My family-in-law, including nephews and nieces and grand-nephews-and-nieces, all of whom are smart, interesting, talented and caring folks. And my family-of-choice, those amazing and wonderful friends whose presence in my life is a gift beyond words. I can't imagine my life without all of you, dear friends and family!

All of my 'teachers'
- the friends and colleagues who have taught me more about how to live than any book or class could have done.

Sam and Harley - our beloved kitties, who allow us to be their staff!

And, in a strange way, I'm grateful for MS, because nothing else could have slowed my frantic pace enough to allow me the gift of being in the moment - of watching birds swoop from the trees to the bird feeders and back again, while I marvel. Or seeing a ruby-throated hummingbird, hovering and swaying as it drinks from the feeder on the back deck. Or spending time snuggling with Sam, our big, black kitty, who comes into the kitchen while I make the coffee, and yowls his desire to be picked up and petted. Before MS, I was much too focused on the next task - whether it was driving to work, or, when I was home, the emails I had to answer, or the proposals I had to write. Now, my 'task' is to get through the day, to accomplish a few, small chores or errands, and to try and be mindful of my physical limitations, but this gives me a LOT of time to simply SEE, which isn't a bad thing at all.


Char said...

I think you made a great point, MS or not. Most of us move at a pace that doesn't allow to really see what's around us. We all need to slow down and find what's really important to us. Thanks for sharing this...

Libbi said...

You're quite welcome, Charlotte!