This morning, as I stood looking at the beautiful ocean, my attention was briefly diverted by spinal pain. Chronic pain is something I face daily, and in that moment I reminded myself that the pain’s intensity could never exceed the intensity of my gratitude. Gratitude for life, gratitude for feeling my body, as paralysis would be so much more severe. Gratitude for being IN that moment, with all its forceful energy.
At the weekend, I met my friend in a café – something else to be grateful for as cafes are just reopening after lockdown. This particular friend’s father survived the holocaust. I grew up around older relatives who were also holocaust survivors. My friend sipped her tea and asked me “What is it about the survivors of something so awful, that they dress so immaculately and have done so well for themselves? I literally never met a single survivor who hasn’t made a success of their lives!”
My instinctual response to this fascinating question was, “Gratitude.”
People have likened lockdown to the second world war, which is insulting when you consider what some of these tremendous elders experienced in the war itself.
Health is in everyone’s thoughts presently, as the world wonders if it is getting back to normal or awaiting another quake of health scares. The lesson in all this is, to my mind, gratitude.
Life conjures lessons for us, and when we don’t learn them, it brings them back louder, harder, in other forms. If complacent generations don’t learn gratitude, what harsher lessons are in store?
I didn’t choose to feel chronic pain every day, yet I choose daily to feel gratitude more intensely.