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Gratitude: A Meditation on a Milestone

Updated: Mar 16, 2023

March 19 is a special day for me—a second birthday. For on March 19, 2012, I broke my spine after a fall, lost the use of my legs, and nearly severed my spinal cords. This required hospitalization and recovery therapy that lasted until the end of June. Eleven years later, I view this as the pivotal moment of my life, a wake up to a life of gratitude. Today, I walk, exercise in a swimming pool, do my gardening, and have visited Europe, a little slice of Asia (in Turkey), both U.S. coasts (and a lot in between), and Puerto Rico. I work every day and wake up each morning feeling grateful to God, my friends, family, coworkers, and the beauty of nature. That leads to this meditation. I live by gratitude and am grateful that you are taking time to read this.

If a dark cloud ever passes my mind

It is dispelled by gratitude.

If I am ever compelled to feel angry or disappointed.

It is dispelled by gratitude.

If I even am remotely tempted to feel sorry for myself.

It is dispelled by gratitude.

Disappointments lead to self-reflection,

And if you take an honest inventory,

You will see that you have more cause for gratitude,

Than sadness.

If you fail or make a bad or even stupid choice,

You can be grateful for the second, third, and ninetieth chances

That life gives you.

Gratitude is the antidote for the poison called “regret.”

You can walk confidently along a sunny path,

Or one shaded by clouds,

Not even knowing your destination,

So long as gratitude is your companion.

If you stop to think of what you have

And cultivate gratitude,

The list of what you lack gets so much shorter.

If you are grateful, you can’t be hateful.

Gratitude opens your eyes to the vivid colors around you

And the beauties of the earth you are so lucky to share,

Gratitude opens your ears to the laughter of a child, the song of the birds,

And the gentle rustle of wind through the trees,

And gives you joy at being alive.

Gratitude even is a salve for grief,

To make you grateful for the time you have had with those whom you have lost,

And grateful for the love and memories that cannot be taken from you.

Gratitude is a balm for broken relationships;

You are grateful for even a few moments of shared happiness,

For the lessons learned,

And for the self-reflection and growth that follows.

Gratitude is a pain reliever,

Even when in my greatest moments of pain,

I was grateful for a God who may not have delivered me from pain

But was with me in pain.

I was grateful for friends who sought to soothe my pain

And cared enough to try to comfort,

Gratitude is the universal solvent

To loosen rusty, unmoved hearts

To open.

And for that, I am grateful.

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