Albert Einstein was quoted as saying, “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” I love this quote, because it reminds us, from one of the great geniuses of our time, that it’s up to us how we perceive our lives. We can be grateful for the ten things that went well today, like the fact that we have a roof over our heads and we have people who love us, and we have free libraries and flowers blooming outside. We can also be grateful for the things that we take for granted, like the fact that our heart beats every day and night for years and years without our having to think about it. If you use an average of 80 beats per minute, your heart beats about 4,800 times per hour. That’s 115,200 times per day. Over the course of a year, that’s 42,048,000 times!
So often it’s easy to focus on what’s wrong and not see what’s going well. Currently, our home phones don’t work, we have some ants we have to treat, and our backyard looks crazy and overgrown since we haven’t gotten around to really fixing it. But in reality, these are what most people would call “first world problems.” We are not worried about whether our water source is safe or whether our neighbors are going to attack and kill us in the middle of the night. Yes, this is a crazy election year and I’m concerned that an unqualified nut like Donald Trump might actually get elected. But still, we are American. We are free. We can practice whatever religion we want. We have the ability to rise above our circumstances and be whatever we want.
This past Memorial Weekend, in addition to having friends over for a barbecue, our family reflected on the heroes in our family who fought to keep America free. Thankfully our heroes came home from the war, but many don’t. We need to remember how precious our freedom is. All you have to do is look to war-torn countries like Syria to realize how many people don’t have freedom.
It’s important, as you look to find your world stage, that you notice what you’re grateful for, both small and large. Take the time to really look at how beautiful strawberries and lavender fields and sunsets are. Think about starting a daily gratitude journal. I have used one off and on for years and it’s really special to look back and see entries like “I am grateful for my first grader’s toothless smile” and “I am grateful that my mom’s surgery went safely.”
When you’re having a bad day, remember that there has never been another you and there will never be another you ever again. You are as unique as your fingerprints. Now that’s something to be grateful for.