I learned nearly two years ago how quickly our lives can change. I also learned in the months following to take every minute of every day and savor it. There are no guarantees in life beyond right here, right now. So take the time and enjoy the moment. If you look hard enough, even in the darkest of times you will find light. So often I hear, "how do you do it? How can you keep smiling?" It's easy. You do it because you have to. There is no choice. You smile because things could always be worse, no matter how bad they are. There is always something to be thankful for.
If this were written a week earlier, the first item on my list would be different. I'm thankful for those who have dedicated their lives to saving others. Doctors, nurses, paramedics and EMT's head that list. Watching these professionals at work is amazing. See it, analyze it and then fix it. No hesistation, no hand wringing, it's just "get it done." What we owe these fine people doesn't carry a price tag. However, their faces light up like kids at Christmas when they get a Thank You.
A couple of years ago I was hiking with Peter, "Mad Townie" to some of you. I know it's hard to believe, but we had an almost intelligent conversation (I say almost because I was involved in the conversation). We talked about the loss of loved ones, and the pain involved. We talked about moving on, and how family and friends are critical to the healing process. It's a matter of being thankful for what you have. We talked about a love of hiking and outdoors, and how even if we got to a point where we couldn't hike anymore, looking at pictures would fill that void. If our vision should go, we would still have memories of our hiking. Then again, Randy Pierce, www.2020visionquest.org, has shown us differently on that one. Peter and I agreed that not being able to remember that part of our lives would be the worst. Peter and I spent about six hours together that day. It was one of my better days, and I think about it often. I once heard or read "it's always good weather when friends get together." I can agree with that.
Time spent with family and friends is, to me, what life is all about. Some of my better days lately were when the alarm clock would sound and I would look to my left. There was Tracie, sound asleep, breathing lightly. Yup, it's already a good day. No matter what else happened, I got her for another day. I'm thankful that I get to watch the kids as they grow and find their way. Seeing Eric grow up overnight when Tracie got sick incredible to watch. He transformed from my boy to my young man in an instant. I see him now, a few days away from his twentieth birthday and realize that he will grow to be a fine man. I watch Tommy struggle with his issues and try to overcome them. He's getting better at it, but it's not easy. The girls grow by leaps and bounds. I'm thankful that I get to spend time with all of them, that we learn from each other.
I am eternally grateful for my friends. My only regret is that time doesn't allow me spend more time with them. The virtual world is a convenient way to communicate, but the in-person world is what I like best.
As Thanksgiving nears, I offer my thanks to my friends. Some of us go back to the very early years of our lives, others I have just recently met. Either way, each of you are near and dear to me and I am happy that you are a part of my life. My family and I wish each of you a healthy and happy Thanksgiving, and our wishes extend not just for today but for every day.