Thursday, July 8, 2010

Giving Thanks Every Day

Yesterday I experienced a couple of powerful reminders of just how blessed I am and how I don't want to take my blessings for granted.

The first reminder occurred when I stopped by to get a quick upper lip wax at a salon a friend had recommended. I mentioned to the cosmetologist that I had never needed an upper lip wax until I had ovarian cancer and was thrown into menopause by the treatment. She asked a few questions about my cancer, one of which is one of the most popular questions any cancer survivor is asked -- "How did you figure out/find out you had cancer?"

This question is most often asked by those who have had experience with cancer first-hand, either their own or a loved-one's. So it was not a complete surprise when she told me a little further into the conversation that her 7 year old daughter is a cancer survivor. Her young daughter had survived a brain tumor, but only after 18 months of a harsh regimen of chemotherapy and radiation to save her life.

I had only known this woman for a few minutes but felt a deep connection with her and the experience she had been through with her beloved child. I tried to hold back the tears as she told me her story. My own mother-in-law died from cancer last fall, my father has beaten melanoma back from stage IV and I have survived cancer, but even with all of that experience, I cannot get my mind around what it must be like to have a child who has had to battle such a deadly disease.

I was deeply affected by the obvious love this mother had for her daughter and the enormous sacrifices she made to care for her during that time. We both agreed that this life is a precious gift, and that our loved ones are the best gift this life has to offer, and that we shouldn't waste a day taking anything or anyone for granted.

The second reminder about how much I have to be grateful for occurred just hours later in the afternoon and early evening. My husband, younger children and I were out clothes shopping about seven miles south of our home. The clouds looked threatening but not threatening enough to keep us home. I usually stay tuned to the weather on the internet or TV but had not that day. My husband shopped with my son to help him find some new pants and shirts and I worked with my younger daughters to help them find the clothes they needed.

During our shopping trip, my 20 year old daughter called my husband frantic about where we were. He told her that we were shopping and she was relieved because she said that she had attempted to drive into our neighborhood after work and the entrance which is by a pond and near a creek had turned into a raging river with the rain (which was especially heavy in and around our neighborhood). She had managed to park on higher ground and walked along that higher ground to our home. She told us though that a neighbor and a very dear friend of ours had not been so lucky.

Louise had been caught in the floodwaters just inside our neighborhood and almost swept away. Thankfully, firemen and others were able to rescue her. After the floodwaters cleared the roadways, we drove toward home, past my friend's car, abandoned by the pond, and directly over to her house. She had been out talking to neighbors and was walking back to her house when we drove up the street. When we pulled up alongside her, I couldn't stop looking at her as she shared her story. I was so relieved that she was okay. Years ago, I had had my own experience with being suddenly caught in flash floodwaters and I knew firsthand how frightening it can be and how you know after you survived, that things could have turned out differently. I am so glad and give thanks in my prayers today that my dear friend Louise survived.

As I write this for myself and to share with you, I reaffirm my commitment to give thanks through my prayers and my actions every day for the blessings that are mine. I will not take them for granted, so as I close, just let me say, thank you for being one of my favorite blessings as a reader and a friend.

Love and Blessings to You,


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