Years ago, way back in 2004 I had an opportunity of a lifetime to meet and speak with the Dali Lama in Bodh Gaya, India. It’s an experience I will never forget and one that has shaped my life and how I try to live it. I was engaged at the time of our meeting, but had not yet joined the parenthood journey. It’s amazing how God prepares you for what life may bring. During my exchange with the Dali Lama, I asked him what we need in life and he gave me a list of three things, but I am trying to save some for my book, so I will only share one thing he told me; health. He said people take good health for granted and my how right he is.
For the past three weeks my family has been plagued either one at a time or all together with numerous illnesses. From the flu, to allergies, to ear infections, it seems like someone has been sick everyday. I have spent hundreds of dollars on copays, prescriptions, old school remedies, juice, water and pedialyte. I have been plagued with exhaustion from late nights and long days. I was at my wits end of runny noses, itchy eyes, tummy aches, vomiting and hacking coughs and had started to complain. I don’t like complainers and I don’t like to complain and in the midst of one of my down moments I heard the voice of the Dali Lama telling me directly not to take health for granted.
At that moment I became grateful, grateful for our illnesses being temporary; grateful for financial resources to pay for my babies copays and medicine, thankful for the ability to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables and locally produced honey for hot tea. I am grateful for a flexible schedule that allowed me to stay home with my babies most of the time. I am thankful my mother was close enough to watch my sick babies when there was something I couldn’t re-arrange. I am so thankful for our dear friends the Andersons coming to my house while I was at urgent care with my daughter and making a big pot of gumbo for us. I am thankful for a partner that took turns and was in the grind with me giving breathing treatments and holding barf bags in the middle of the night and the list goes on and on and on.
Now, maybe it’s psychological but seems to me my gratefulness was simultaneous with their recovery. Within 24 hours, my house and the people in it were on the mend. Fevers were down, mucus stopped flowing and appetites picked up. And after the dust began to clear it was time to do some major disinfecting. As my whole family joined in to clean, I couldn’t help but smile because in the midst of a short sick spell, I was reminded not to take our health for granted.
So three weeks later there are a few lingering coughs and stubborn stuffy noses, but for the most part all is well and once again life has reminded me to be grateful and thankful for our support system and I will try my best not to lose sight of the importance of maintaining overall good health.