Every other day, or maybe a bit more often, depending on how our day is going, we need a reminder to count our blessings. Busy lives and hectic schedules steer us towards focusing so intently on our usually temporary problems that even if we have a long list of things to be grateful for, they seem blurry. Why? Because our attention highlights the problems that appear more important at the moment. It could be a financial issue, a hassle at work, a misunderstanding with a friend or colleague or family—it could be any number of things.
It becomes second nature to spend time fretting on what’s wrong with our lives–and we forget to notice the things that are going right.
You know what they say: the crying baby gets the milk. The squeaky hinge gets the oil.
I confess I do this on occasion when there seems only a bunch of messes on a given day, with a promise of continuity. Of course, I had my Mom to constantly nudge me and remind me to look at the bright side. But it is so hard sometimes, you know?
One of the darkest phases in my life was when my Mom was admitted in hospital with a danger-level hemoglobin count and her platelet count dipping rapidly. She had fever that just wouldn’t subside. We had gone for blood tests the day before and the results were expected the next day.
The next morning, the hospital called and asked me to admit my Mom into emergency care right away. What followed was a harrowing three weeks, two of which were spent in the ICU where my Mom was given platelet infusions. We were running around to source the bags of platelets—which was not easy. By the end of the first week, her forearm began to swell and became infected, and had to have surgery to drain it. More pain. She appeared to recover at the end of the second week when she was moved to a general ward. By day 21, her hemoglobin/platelet levels stabilized and the doctors discharged her. We came home.
You’d think all was well, right? Nope. Before we could even breathe and sigh with relief, that night, her fever shot up. I was so frustrated—it seemed like the last straw. My son was cranky, he had missed his grandma–and wasn’t happy that she was sick again.
I sat with my Mom and sobbed my heart out. And there she was, smiling at me. She took my hands in hers, told me to do something for her. She said, take a pad and a pen and make a list of all that is right with my life. I was about to protest when she said, “For me?” Ah, my Mom had a way of saying that and melting my heart.
So, I did. Of course, I found it a little difficult to get started as my mind was clouded by the trees of my problems that were obscuring my forest of joys. Well, I did get started on that list. And to this day, I use this wonderful practice when I feel low, besides regularly maintaining a gratitude journal.
You know, it takes solid effort to focus on our blessings. We’ve had other critical situations since–and will have many more, I am sure. We have made it a habit to remind each other to appreciate the good things we still had.
We learned to count our blessings.
Problems are always there in life—and some seem worse than the other and yes, we have to pay attention to them. But when we deal with them, we must remember the simple joys that help us maintain life’s balance, stopping us from sinking into despair.
Today, I am dealing with multiple issues that will take time to resolve. But I am making sure I don’t forget what I’ve got. A loving family, friends who care, a comfortable home, healthcare, coffee to cheer me, nice clothes to wear, work I enjoy that I can do from home…the list is endless. I have the choice to feel how I want—grateful or harassed.
Think about this:
- What blessings are you counting today?
- What stops you from counting your blessings?
- Why do we tend to focus on our problems?
- Can you imagine what it would be like if we got into the habit of counting our blessings?
Here’s one of my all-time favorite words of wisdom:
What we see depends mainly on what we look for.
Isn’t that the truth? We see what we want to see. ♥
Wednesday Wisdom is a series with short bursts of easy-to-consume wisdom in the form of stories, quotes, anecdotes, reflections and humor.