Wednesday, May 2, 2012


"We tend to forget that happiness doesn't come as a result of getting something we don't have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have."
~Frederick Keonig

I sat on the living room couch, sipping a cold drink and catching my breath after a morning of working in my garden. It had felt good to physically push myself under the soothing January sunshine. But my muscles were already voicing their complaints after their workout, and I questioned the wisdom in possibly overdoing it.

My dog's frantic barking and mad dash toward our front door interrupted those thoughts. Before my very eyes, I saw a potentially hazardous scenario playing out. Our mail guy was stepping onto our porch, and the front door was wide open. To make matters worse, our screen door was unlatched. I could only imagine the fate of our poor mail carrier if our dog came face to face with his nemesis.

I reacted quickly. I jumped off the couch and raced my dog to the door. Somehow, in the chaos of the moment, I managed to trip over our doxie and fly head first into our heavy wood door. (It's okay to giggle...the picture that comes to my mind makes me laugh, too.)

The concussion I sustained was life-altering. Simple tasks became major productions. My head hurt all the time. I became very sensitive to light and loud noises. As an elementary school teacher, this made some days almost unbearable.

I later learned I was fortunate to still have my eyesight intact. A visit to the eye doctor months later showed that I had bled behind my right eye around the optic nerve. My doctor didn't hide his surprise that my sight hadn't been compromised.

The headaches persisted for years. They would come out of nowhere. One minute, I'd be fine...the next, I 'd be overcome with a new wave of pain. What lesson could this experience possibly teach me? For a long time, I drew a blank. I had no neat and tidy answer. It was a freak accident. End of story.

Looking back, I see a nugget I missed before. That experience, as painful and drawn out as it was, taught me to appreciate every good day I am given. I still succumb to an occasional headache from the incident that happened over ten years ago. But, oh, how I appreciate the days when I am free from the gnawing pain.

I could have suffered partial loss of my eyesight. I didn't. How I appreciate the fact that I can see the world around me with both eyes.

The difficult and painful seasons can give us the gift of appreciation. But we have to be open to receiving it. As I journey along my path, I want to learn to appreciate each day, regardless of what the terrain looks like, or how difficult the day's hike might be. I want to appreciate the fact that I am here...that I am free to press on...that I'm given this moment in time to live, to breathe, and to take in the view...with both eyes.

How about you? How much do you appreciate each day? Don't wait for a knock on the head to begin appreciating how radically blessed you are. Even the bad days are overflowing with goodness.

"Never let a day pass without looking for the good, feeling the good within you, praising, appreciating, blessing and being grateful."
Author Unknown

"Once we discover how to appreciate the timeless values in our daily experiences, we can enjoy the best things in life."
~Harry Hepner


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