Saturday, June 04, 2005

Be Grateful for 'Normal.'

Today I am grateful that I am healthy pretty much. An infection earlier in the week seems to have run its course, thanks to Docs and the magic of "chemistry." I worry about friends who have much more serious health issues and how they cope so well, or at all, when I was layed low by something as ridiculous as a bladder infection.

And I am amazed at how quickly "normal" felt so wonderful, because usually, I operate on the edge... always pushing higher, longer, farther, bigger, better; stretching and straining for the impossible... I lose sight of how comfy and cozy normal can be, until it abruptly departs and something nastier or more depressing appears.

I am counting my blessings today, because my life generally percolates along fairly predictably, largely along lines I define, except for those periods of true grace when something quite marvelous or unexpected occurs.

I read somewhere yesterday that
JUSTICE is getting what we deserve...
MERCY is not getting what we deserve... and
GRACE is getting what we don't deserve.

By that definition, I think I spend alot of time in a state of grace. And I'm not alone.

I think sometimes it's hard for us to accept that we are truly blessed. We cogitate on what ails us, individually and collectively, and not on the incredible blessings that grace our everyday lives. The parking space that opens up just as we drive in, the breeze that refreshes us after a little outdoor manual labor, the absolute blessing of being healthy that most of us take for granted because it is as effortless as air or breathing.

I watched my Mom struggle for every breath she took, as emphysema was destroying her lungs and ultimately her life, but I didnt truly "get it" until I came down with pneumonia a few years after she was gone, and I struggled to breathe with the help of the same breathalizers that gave her momentary peace. So today, I try not to take for granted "the air that we breathe" just because it comes easy.

Many of my friends right now are suffering - breast cancer, depression, anxiety, addiction - and I marvel at how well they cope with just doing the everyday things, nevermind the new regimens and routines they endure on the road to recovery. I call on God through the infinite power of prayer to aid and comfort them, and I am not ashamed to ask for the prayers of others on their behalf, because I have seen how quickly or unmistakably God intervenes when we ask. And I am very grateful for that faith.

Having just retired with what I hope is a good - and I mean GOOD - 30 years ahead of me, I am grateful to Metro for having given me a good job that did much more than just pay the bills for more than 20 years and provide the ability to retire at a still young 55.

Working at Metro gave me the opportunity to meet so many good people who work tirelessly to provide, support and promote very meaningful public transit service. While my days were not always punctuated with exclamation points, I marvel and give grateful thanks when I recall those occasions where the impact of my words provided absolute clarity of purpose as to our collective mission and direction. And those moments are both points of gratitude and pride. So my heart goes out to those who feel mangled and misunderstood in their jobs, or who struggle to keep jobs for whatever reason. Or those who do their job well, even though their heart or passion is elsewhere.

Mostly, I am grateful for a network of friends, some known by face and many known only by their screen names or online monikers. I sense a crazy quilt of personalities, interests, talents, fears, dreams, quirks and eccentricities and I embrace that cornucopeia with relish. I rely on finding a friendly greeting when I drop in, and I am rarely disappointed.

And for all of this, and the great state of normalcy, I am so very grateful today.