I find more and more each day that I am confronted with my own mortality and I’m not particularly good at practicing gratefulness on a daily basis. This year, in particular, has its own strain of challenges as I took on finishing up two Bachelor’s degrees, moving to Arizona, and tackling my post-college career life. Other people I’ve graduated with have dealt with struggles far greater than mine like my friend, Dori, who has been battling a brain tumor since February. And today, I found out another classmate of mine died in a house fire. Seeing as I don’t live back in Rhode Island, I was stunned to find out he died September 25th but only recently was it confirmed that he was the victim of this fire.
I wasn’t close to him and I can honestly say I don’t think we talked that often in school but I think of the people who will miss him for the rest of their lives now that he is gone. I know death is one of those things that we’ll all face one day but it doesn’t seem fair that not all of us get to live as long as we would like to; I find it hard to come to grips with that reality.
I felt much the same way when I found out about my friend, Dori. It made no sense to me why she, of all people, got cancer. She takes care of herself, is happy-go-lucky (and isn’t a positive outlook one of the best ways to prevent stress on the body), and takes no needless risks to her health and safety. I eagerly check every day or at least every few days to find word from her family as to how she is faring. It kills me inside that I didn’t make time to get together the last time I was back in Rhode Island for my internship. I drove by her work twice a week for eight weeks…I could have made time.
I have the hardest time accepting the fact that as people we only control so much of what happens to us and it’s that part of me that also struggles to remain grateful in the face of such adversity. I want to find some way to ease that pain and burden that’s placed on others. I wonder, “Could it have been prevented?” In the wake of such tragedies and struggles, my burden of still being unemployed seems trivial. Yes, it sucks but it gives me more time with my family.
Please forgive the fact that today’s blog is not particularly upbeat as mine normally are. I do know I have much to be thankful for this year and it’s appropriate to take the time to highlight those gifts that I have received.
1. I am thankful for the family I’ve been given. I have a husband of six years; a beautiful and wonderful two year old daughter; in-laws that support us in our time of need; my siblings and parents even though they are far away; and my slew of extended family who keep in touch from time to time.
2. I am thankful for my health. While my body doesn’t tolerate running long distance like it used to, my body is adapting to new forms of exercise and I am feeling good.
3. I am thankful for my friends. Who else will put up with me when I need a good vent?! But seriously, I have been blessed with some amazing friends who are just like family and I know each day I have the opportunity to meet more people who will fulfill my life in ways I am not able to on my own.
4. I am thankful for my safety. As troubles mount again in the Middle East, I know that I live a mostly safe existence here in the States and not many people around the world (or even in this country) can know on a day-to-day basis that there is a roof over their heads, food on their plates, clothing to keep them warm, and there is little risk of being a victim of violence.
5. I am thankful for my education. I’ve been able to go to elementary school, middle school, high school, and college and I’ve learned so much about people and the world we inhabit.