Be Thankful


Sometimes I forget how lucky I am.  Maybe I just take it for granted.  Yes, my grown children live with chronic conditions.  No, I do not know what tomorrow may bring.  As a mother, I will forever remember the days of yesterday, when technology and medicine was far behind what it is today.  Life was a blink away from a door that scared me so.  Instead, I slammed it shut so I would never know.

From the day my children were diagnosed, I remember saying to them, “Be thankful for what you have, it could always be much worse.”  My boys were only three and six, back then.  Before I knew it, they grew from toddlers into teens, morphing into young men.  A dozen words that could have been a fortune cookie message ended up leaving a billboard imprint on their lives.

I was reminded of that time in my life last weekend while visiting the zoo.  It was a warm and sunny day here in St. Louis.  After such a long and frigid winter, it felt almost balmy.   Like beach weather without the sand near ocean land.  The gift shop should have been selling plastic pails with shovels to match the sunny day.

At the gorilla exhibit, I saw a magnificent Silverback weighing nearly 600 pounds.  He was one of the most beautiful creatures I had ever seen.  Around the corner and under a tunnel of sorts, was a large Plexiglas window to view their outdoor living quarters.  Children and adults alike could watch the ‘family’ who lived there climb wooden ladders, swing on ropes, dig in the dirt, or simply sit under the shade of the trees.

Directly behind the window sat a large gorilla with his head tucked under a blanket, peeking out as if to tease all who peered at him.  Crowds gathered while children pushed forward to get a better look.  In the very back was a young mother who pushed her son ahead, as well.  I was off to the side, watching her.  She was timid and shy, I could tell.  Her son was a handsome young boy of about six or seven, I guessed.  He wore jeans with a red cardinal baseball hoodie tied loosely around his waist.  Atop his head was a snatch of sandy blonde hair.  I saw them later and remember how it glowed in the light of the sun.

Like all mothers everywhere, she loved her son as much or more than any other one.  She bent down to tell him so.  She tried to push him several times to view the world on the other side of the plastic glass.  The crowd would not let her through.  Finally, an older man tried to help by making a path of sorts, enabling her to nudge her son to the front of the window.  Seeing the big gorilla playing under his striped blanket delighted the child, making him smile with glee.

The young mother was happy then, standing next to her son’s wheelchair, where she brushed his sandy colored hair with the palm of her hand.

Yes, I’m lucky and my boys are too.  Be thankful for what you have.  There is a lesson here.

18 thoughts on “Be Thankful

  1. Kim, your story makes me remember the words of Denis Waitley; “I had the blues because I had no shoes until upon the street, I met a man who had no feet.” No matter what or where we find ourselves, we should be thankful because just like you said…”it could have been worse.” An attitude of thankfulness exposes us to the possibilities and blessings in our handicaps, challenges, adversity, pains, illnesses. Just as the scriptures advises; “In all things give thanks to God”.
    Thank you for this reminder. Great piece.

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    • Thank you, Vincent. I’m sure the mother of the little boy felt the same. “It could always be much worse.” We must be thankful for what we have no matter our adversity. Peace to you, Vincent.

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  2. I think we all forget how blessed we are at times. I get that way too when life gets a little crazy. I forget to appreciate even the littlest things that makes our life a little better. God has provided for us all this time, we have food to eat and roof over our heads. Life is great when we acknowledge God and thankful for what we have. Lovely post, Kim. I wish you a beautiful, colorful spring. Have a lovely day! 🙂

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    • You too, Anna. God does yank us back around a bit to remind us that no matter what our adversity it, there is always someone, somewhere who has it much worse. Surely a wheelchair is not it….there is always something more.

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