Thursday, April 29, 2010
Today is a day of choices. We will have to choose to live in the past or the present. We will have to make a choice to celebrate what was lost or what was found. We will choose to continue to hold on tightly to what was or to open our hands and embrace the new. We will have to choose to enjoy the memories of the past or resent the fact that life changes. To resent the fact that life doesn't always turn out the way we planned.
We have to choose to be resentful or grateful.
In Henri Nouwen's book, Life of the Beloved, he says:
"When there is reason for gratitude, there can always be found a reason for bitterness. It is here that we are faced with the freedom to make a decision. We can decide to be grateful or to be bitter. We can decide to recognize our chosenness in the moment or we can decide to focus on the shadow side. When we persist in looking at the shadow side, we will eventually end up in the dark.
"What fascinates me so much is that every time we decide to be grateful it will be easier to see new things to be grateful for. Gratitude begets gratitude, just as love begets love."
Ethan, today is your birthday. I am choosing to be grateful, to give thanks.
I am thankful that God can do miracles.
I am thankful that your dad fought for your life. That he never gave up on you or God.
I am thankful that I can hear you talk, laugh and sing.
I am thankful you had the opportunity to experience riding a bike, playing golf, and driving a car.
I am thankful that when you were 3 and Aunt Debbie and I lost you at the beach, that we found you.
I am thankful for Bayley and how much joy she brings us all.
I am thankful for your insurance.
I am thankful that you don’t have to spell for a living.
I am thankful that you introduced me to hummus, to Beyonce’s Single Lady, to The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, and the cellist, Yo-Yo Ma.
I am thankful that you learned how to swallow again. That you can eat and drink and that I can fry you chicken and okra.
I am thankful that your dad’s back is strong and that you can help him with transfers.
I am thankful that you love Seth and that Seth loves you.
I am thankful that you forgive me before I ask.
I am thankful that you have been our “family’s liberal.” You'’ve forced us to listen to the other side and to not be so convinced that our way is always the right way or the only way.
I am thankful that your doctors and therapists look past your injury and that they see the real you.
I am thankful that you have enough confidence in my love for you that you correct me when I’m wrong, like the other day when we were sitting down at the park. My feelings were hurt and I made an ugly comment about someone. You told me that I was acting immature. OUCH!
I am thankful that every Sunday we go to church and hear about God’s grace and the love He has for us.
I am thankful for Hotch and Nick, and their friendship.
I am thankful that we are learning the truth about our lives. That it isn’t about our successes and our failures. It isn’t about what we have or do. It’s about who we are and how we treat each other.
I am thankful that you taught me how good it feels to give a stranger my last couple of dollars.
I am thankful when you tell me that you want to give up. When you tell me that you would rather die than not be able to walk. It hurts to hear but it blesses me that you know your feelings and fears are safe with me.
I am thankful for your extended family. For your Mimi and Bob, your aunts and uncles, your cousins (first, second and third) and for all the prayers they have prayed for you.
I am thankful that your injury has made us more compassionate and less judgmental of others.
I am thankful that I called you the afternoon of December 7, 2003 and that Kurt was there to find you.
I am thankful that every night I can tell you how much I love you and how proud I am that you are my son.
I am thankful that during those four months you were in a coma and we didn’t know "where you were", that God knew.
I am thankful that the dream I had when I was 7 months pregnant with you, that I would have a blue eyed, blond- haired boy, came true.
That’s my gratitude list of "27." One for every year you’ve been with us. It’s true. Gratefulness begets gratefulness.
Sometimes choosing to be grateful takes courage. It doesn’t come natural. It feels like swimming up-stream. But, I believe you will choose to be grateful with me. I see your heart everyday. I know how brave you are. Your Uncle Ted has always described you as being the one that held the fire cracker a little longer, the one who swam out in the water just a little farther, the one who rode their bike just a little faster and the one that climbed a little higher.
Your courage has helped me do things I never thought I could do. To be a person I never thought I could be.
Today, let’s give each other the courage to be grateful.
I love you Ethan,