Thursday, October 10, 2013

Gratitude

"You always have a smile on your face," she said.
Thank you. I have so much to smile about, I replied.
"That's the spirit," she said as she met my gaze, but there was sadness in her eyes.

 I don't quite understand why so many people assume that I must be bitter about life. I am thankful every day for the amazing opportunities that I have been blessed with.
 
A few months ago, someone posted something as a Facebook status that has been haunting me.
"People say that everything happens for a reason. HA. Ask a paraplegic person and I bet they won't agree."

Maybe, I wanted to say. But how do you know? Regardless of your own beliefs, this implies that you believe that nothing good can come from that disability. I don't have a problem with people who believe in pure coincidences. I do have a problem, however, with those who think that no one could possibly be grateful for life's challenges, those who assume that, unequivocally, no one with a significant physical disability would ever believe that everything happens for a reason.

Regardless of whether my cerebral palsy happened "for a reason," I really do have so much to be grateful for.

It feels strange that I'll never meet them, these people who allowed me to experience the world. I wouldn't recognize their faces in a crowd, the faces of the doctors and nurses who kept me alive. Do they have families, children of their own? How many other lives have they saved?

These doctors, these nurses, these individuals who worked tirelessly to develop lifesaving medical technology...they're heroes. They gave me a gift that I can never fully reciprocate, a gift far too precious to be boxed up and tied with a ribbon. They gave me the gift of life. Without medical intervention, I probably wouldn't be here.

I would never have experienced sunshine streaming through the window in the morning, a gentle spring breeze, a crackling fire. I wouldn't know what it is like to be covered in sloppy dog kisses, or to be cozy in bed on a chilly autumn's morning.

I inhale and fill my lungs with oxygen, fill my lungs with gratitude for the surfactant and all of the medical equipment that sustained my life even when I couldn't breathe on my own.

I unwrap a piece of chocolate, savor the sweetness as it melts on my tongue. The chocolate melts, but the gratitude does not...there's another kind of sweetness deep inside me as I think of the feeding tube that nourished me when I was unable to eat due to digestive issues.

I am so overwhelmingly grateful to have been given this amazing gift of life. I am so glad that I have the opportunity to interact with such incredible individuals, both outside and within the blogosphere. The world really is a beautiful place.

I have so much to smile about.

13 comments:

  1. As the mother of a 17yo with CP, I know there are days when it's difficult to have gratitude. It's just a joy to read how you find yours! You truly brightened my day! (Sharing some comment love back! Plus following you on Bloglovin now!)

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  2. Life Is On Purpose.

    I have to believe that.

    And you're an incredible, inspiring writer :D Love how you put this

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  3. The world really is a beautiful place and you do have so much to smile about. I'm so lucky to have you for a friend. Thanks for the sunshine today, K!

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  4. I'm an adult with cp and as much as I hate to admit it, the pity party people want to throw me is bothering me more and more. Who do people think they are to judge me? Unlike you, I'm not a happy person but not all of it has to do with cp, yet people want to reduce every situation in my life to cp. They don't even know me, but they consider themselves oh so wise. And the part of my unhappiness that is due to cp is actually due in large part to THESE people. They rob my joy way more that cp ever could.
    I try and try to figure these people out. Why are they so negative? There are thankfully some people who can see the good in my life, so what makes the difference? For sure, some people are just black and white thinkers. They just don't get it. But others, I hate to say, they seem to get something out of it. I've gotten into arguments with people who insist I MUST have a crappy life. It's almost funny....if only it weren't so pathetic. Why are they so opinionated about my life unless the pity serves them in some way.
    Sorry to write so much - obviously I enjoyed your post. :-) it unleashed this flood of words.
    Have a great weekend.

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  5. This is my first time posting a blog comment but I feel so compelled. I have 5 year old twin girls. One has mild spastic dyplesia and one does not. I found your blog through a weekend hookup on Love that Max and it is just what I had been searching for. I sat down and read all of your posts in one sitting. You have given me potential insight into my daughter 's head and future. And I am grateful. I cried a lot while I was reading--both happy and sad. We have our own can-do girl and we do everything we can to keep that spirit going. I can only hope that she grows into a strong, independent young woman like you. Please keep writing. I cannot find very much written about multiples where one has mild cp and the other or others do not. Specifically when it comes to physical activities such as sports. And especially at the age they are at now when kids start to get separated. If you or your mother have any insight I would be so grateful. Thank you again.

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  6. Kerith~ Thank you so much for your comment! Reading about Brielle and the rest of your wonderful family brightened MY day too!

    Lizzi~ Life Is On Purpose...wow, I love that! I agree!

    Kristi~ Thank YOU for the sunshine that you bring to my life, friend! You are one of the reasons that I smile!

    Anonymous 1~ I totally get the pity party thing too...it's almost as if people WANT to feel sorry for us! I don't want pity...I just want respect. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts! :-)

    Anonymous 2~ Wow, thank you for taking the time to comment! It really means a lot to me that my words were able to help you in some way. That can-do attitude will get your daughter far in life! Thank you for reaching out, and I would love to talk to you some more if it would be helpful...do you have an email address through which I could contact you? :-)

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    1. I would love to connect with you offline. I would rather not publish my email. Is there a way for me to send to you privately. Melissa (anonymous 2)

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    2. Sure! I definitely know what you mean about not wanting to publish your email, as I don't like to share my personal email on here either.

      Because of that, I made a separate email for this blog, so you can contact me at transcendingcp@gmail.com :-)

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    3. Aw! You're one of the reasons that I smile. So smiles for us. That's never a bad thing. <3

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  7. I totally relate to anon#1. I am pretty unhappy in my life but to reduce that to my dissability, would be like saying t hat mental distress doesn't happen to non-disabled people, or that htey hav enor ight to feel unhappy. In reality, distress can happen for any reason or no apparent reason. That doesn't make it less real. Similarly, my disabilities do not give me the right to go aroudn throwing a pity party all the time. Of course my disability sucks sometimes and I can whine about it for a bit, but it's not fair to use it as an excuse not to try to change my thought pattern to a ore optimistic one.

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  8. Hey Astrid! Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. I totally agree -- it's okay (healthy, even!) to vent every now and then (and if you've looked at some of my other posts, you've probably seen that, like you, I feel frustrated with my disability sometimes!), but disability shouldn't be viewed as an excuse to be pessimistic about life! I like your attitude. :-)

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  9. What a beautiful post. And so true! There is SO much to be thankful for.

    I'm blessed to have a close relationship with my NICU nurse... I'm overwhelmed when I think of the love she showed my tiny, sick little self...

    I know if your NICU nurses/doctors could see you now they would be in awe of your compassionate heart and wisdom.

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  10. So annoying when people just assume your life sucks. Kind of insulting, right? On the topic of nurses and doctors who helped you as a baby: http://pricelessone.livejournal.com/687263.html

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