I’m falling. Sinking.
I shouldn’t have jumped in this deep I tell myself.
My chest shoots with pain as the surrounding jellyfish welcome me to the ocean. I can hardly move. I’m gasping for air, precious air. I’m only inches from the surface. I can see the light reflect through the barrier that lay between me and living. I pull myself up with a single arm, the other clutching my abdomen from the pain. I swallow as much air as I have water. My legs growing tired as I tread water at a frantic and erratic rhythm.
What happened next occurred within an instant. My dad jumped right in and helped me swim to shore. I had barely screamed, I couldn’t even muster a sound of survival. He saved me then as he has many times since.
The hard truth is that gratitude didn’t stop me from drowning, people did. After almost a year or gratitude blogging, I’ve struggled with the concept. Part of me feels like this blog has simply been an expression of my privilege, boasted for everyone over the World Wide Web. Every day I think through these things I have and get to do that others can’t because of their background or adversities.
Maybe the real healing power of gratitude exists in the people we connect with. Maybe gratitude shouldn’t be about us at all. What good is gratitude when you’re suffering, drowning?
Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.
Gratitude may not have pulled me from the water but it certainly has helped in other ways. That summer I was literally and physically drowning but I’ve felt like that at other parts of my life, hundreds of miles from the ocean. Gratitude has helped me get through my darkest thoughts and hardest days.
Viktor Frankl as many of you know is one of my favorite authors. He is a Holocaust survivor and an inspiration to purpose-seekers and meaning-makers every where. Our issues do not compare and I will not relate his experiences with my own. His message is what I ultimately want to focus on.
Gratitude, as well as our outlook on life, is a choice we make. Even on our toughest days, finding something to be grateful for can be a powerful anchor.
Today I’m Grateful For…
- Talking things out
- The stillness of the morning
- Warm tea to wake me up
- Time at the gym
- Family road trips and books on tape
- Sharing new music
- Good advice
- Board game nights with my family
- Shared laughter
- Lessons learned
- Signs from the Universe
- Old pictures and good memories
- Bridgewater State University
- Friendly animals
- Sales on Peanut Butter at Big Y
- A clean apartment and clean laundry
- My process
- Clean water and texts from Cambodia
- A little support and understanding
- My Peer Mentors
- The motivation to get things done
- Laying next to my cat, Ned
- Local bagels and pizza
- Sledding down the hill in the winter
- The precious present
As always, check out my first blog 25 Things I’m Grateful For (#1) to know why I’m writing this list and why I want you to start yours.
If you’re interested in Guest Blogging for the Gratitude Journal, click (here)!
Featured image from this morning