Wednesday, 7 October 2009

A lesson in gratitude

One of the things I've been aware of more recently is gratitude.
Now obviously I am extremely grateful for all my wonderful friends support.
I'm grateful for the effort my youngest son has made.
But I'm not talking about that I'm talking about things.

We surround ourselves with stuff, in the kitchen, gadgets and gizmos to make ever tastier meals. In the study the latest technology whether in a computer or a mobile phone. In the living room ever more exciting televisions, stereos and other paraphernalia that we get persuaded by clever marketing people we can't possibly lead happy lives without!

In our wardrobes, the latest fashions, purple being this years black! The right handbag (purse), the latest cut in trousers, straight leg, wide, drain pipe, boot cut. All utterly vital stuff.

In the bathroom, we surely can't go out without our faces cleansed and toned. Moisturiser and serum applied below a skin regulator, below a creamy roll on foundation. And surely now we are all going to have to go out and buy a motorised mascara for those extra long curled lashes that no woman could possible walk down the street without being noticed as having failed in her duty as a fashionista!!!

Nope not talking about that either, what I'm talking about are the things that I've found out seriously make a difference to my life right now. They are very few in number. They don't win prizes in any fashion stakes, gizmo or paraphernalia competitions.

The two things that make my world bearable right now are my glasses, without which I can't read or write a thing. And probably even more important is a small rubber soled, canvas sided, Velcro topped shoe. This amazing structure gives me freedom (of a sort) I can walk around the house, I can walk to a son or friend's car and get in, I can get out the other end and get into the place for lunch, or go to work.

I have learnt that high fashion, and moisturiser, food processor and DVD player matter not one iota compared to being able to hobble to any of them and do whatever needs doing with whatever it is.

We, and I think I can say this about most of us, take things for granted some of the time. We don't have to think about how we get into the toilet, turn round, get our clothes adjusted and so on till we can't do it. We don't work out how we get things in and out of the oven, washing machine, dishwasher, until we can't actually bend or balance on one leg. We don't realise how uneven pavements (sidewalks) are until every uneven one jolts are body in a way that hurts. We don't think about how easy or difficult it is to push/pull a garbage can down the drive to the road ready for collection until we can't do it without a struggle. The list is endless, but these are just a few of the things I've grappled with recently.

So there we have it lesson number two for me in less than a month. The first being to give a helping hand or smile to someone trying to make themselves understood in a foreign language when in my country, even if I don't understand them. That's not the point, the point is to let them know they are not alone.

And the second lesson is a greater understanding of what it feels like to be disabled. I'm extremely lucky this bone will mend and I will be walking and driving again soon. But until this happened to me I'd not really any idea of what it felt like to not be able to do the things I take for granted.

And for these two lessons I am more than grateful. And I sincerely hope that in learning them I don't then forget them, if and when, my fellow man needs a little more understanding than I would have previously given.

We have a choice always in life to learn from our experiences or to ignore them and carry on blindly, I know which side of this coin I want to come down on, what about you?

When I start writing a post I never plan what I'm going to say it just evolves from an original idea. And I thought this would stop after writing about the shoe, but where I've ended up is so much more important. To actually be able to own that out of adversity comes learning and appreciation for what I've got in life is a very humbling lesson, and one that I must not take for granted.


BenefitScroungingScum said...

This is a fantastic post, thank you FB. I can honestly say I'm far, far happier than the majority of my non disabled friends, having learnt to take pleasure in the smallest of things & not be too bothered by consumerism.
Still, I hope the bone mends soon! BG XX

Sage said...

sounds a little more positive than your post when the incident occurred.. I know to my cost how 'disabling' time on crutches is, I wasn't give a choice and after 13 weeks I begged to go back to work ... since then I haven't ever taken my life for granted...

Helen said...

I have supported, mentored, advocated and loved my disabled son his entire life and in doing so gained so much more than I gave. Your post today reminded me of that and I thank you so very much.

Gin said...

This was beautiful FB. It is always so nice when our lives slow us down whether by choice or not and we have a chance to sit back and reflect on what really matters.

lakeviewer said...

Oh yes! Alleluia! You hit it, sister! Well, I'm sorry that you are hobbling these days; what a pain that is, but it teaches us if we pay attention. Great words to live by.

Merry ME said...

I'm not sure how I missed your post on Monday, but I have just read it back to back with this one. Such good lessons to be reminded of. We really don't know how good we've got it til something important is taken away from us. I'm considereing a tattoo on the back of my hand so every time I look down, there is what I need to focus on!

Glad you are getting around, even if it is just a hobble. A little hobble here and a little hobble there and before you know it you'll be good as new. Probably looking at the growth of hair under the plaster and wondering where the ape woman came from!

Blessings and peace,

Angela Recada said...

Wow! You have learned a lot. And what's more important, you've shared it here with the world.

It's astonishing, isn't it, how basic our real needs really are. And how alike we humans all are, when you strip away all the nonessential superficial things we we hide behind.

I hope you are feeling better every day.

Linda - Gold Coast said...

How true your words are Mandy. Like you, I would be lost without my glasses for reading and computer work. Such a small thing and yet so important. What another wonderful post to read. Thank you. Linda xoxo

speck of dust said...

I think you're really amazing that you think so deeply about every situation you find yourself in and learn such profound lessons from it. Like you I also hope I can not forget the lessons I learn. When we had no money I actually enjoyed (sometimes) having no choice but to make another bean stew and not being tempted to overindulge in material goods because I couldn't. Of course I much prefer having money and working to earn it :) I'm a sensitive wounded soul who NEEDS security and pampering :D

Mel said...

I don't think I 'forget' as much as I end up getting the lessons on a deeper level as I'm ready for that level, yaknow?

What I thought was, evolved into more.
But I believe that's the way it ought to be--or at least needs to be in my life.

And if you don't think I didn't need to read this, this morning--you were sorely mistaken. ;-)

Thank you...
It's such a privilege to watch you stretching and evolving....

Minnie said...

Hello, Mandy - very late to this; but love it just the same. It's a rare ability, being able to learn from life's less pleasant lessons. Humbling, also.
Good for you! And thanks for the inspirational yet low-key tone of voice: friendly, sincere and non-preachy - exemplary. Min xx