Thursday, March 20, 2014

Gratitude for the Here and Now...

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is though everything is a miracle. Albert Einstein

Two days ago during the morning commute in Seattle, a news helicopter crashed onto a busy street killing the pilot and co-pilot, sending a driver to the hospital with critical injuries and causing havoc and chaos for miles around. From the pictures posted immediately online, it was a surreal and very scary situation. Certainly not a typical morning commute, and my heart goes out to the families of all who were involved.

I used to read news like this with a certain amount of distance. It seemed incredibly tragic, but in my mind things like that happened to other people. I no longer think that way. For I had my own personal helicopter fall from the sky three years ago when my 21-year-old son Matthew turned critically ill and died within the span of three weeks. Like countless others, I now know that life can change in a split second, and that it's best to be aware of that fragility so that we can try and live a life of gratitude for every moment that we are here on earth.

This doesn't mean one should live in constant fear, for that's as bad as living life as if nothing bad could ever happen to you. What it means is savoring the here and now, the preciousness of this moment because you never know what is going to happen. By living with that awareness, it can actually add poignancy and meaning to your life. 

We've all had moments of near misses, where afterwards gratitude bubbles up to the surface in appreciation that we "dodged a bullet." Whether it's a doctor's visit that turned out to be nothing or in the case of my friend who posted Tuesday morning on Facebook that a ten-minute pit stop took her out of harm's way of the helicopter crash, we've all had those moments when we've said, "phew, not this time." I guess my point is to remember that it could have been you, that those things don't just happen to other people. They can happen to us, to our loved ones, to our friends and our community. Just as no one gets out of life alive, no one escapes this life unscathed. Life is sacred and not to be taken for granted.

So today as I move through my day I will make an effort to try and notice all the little things that can make up a good day... a commute without problems, daffodils in full bloom, the laughter of a child, a chance meeting up with a friend. Deep down we know that these seemingly little things are actually the important things. There are no guarantees in this life except that things will change, so we should try to be appreciative of all that we have now.


  1. True, and you've expressed it so well, Robin. It seems like that feeling of "it only happens to others" doesn't dawn until it happens to us, or to someone close to us, or perhaps, until we are nearer mid-life and more "permeable." I remember specific times when life-changing, tragic events in the lives of others opened my heart - before it happened to us. They turned my life around by completely changing my perspective, and in a way, they prepared me for our own "crash." Thank you for sharing your perspective. XO

  2. Very well said. I also felt when reading of a tragedy that those things happened to " other people" . I felt a certain sadness, but could never know their deep sadness, until it happened to us. Our son was perfectly healthy, and it changed in an instant. Your blog is written with such tenderness and insight, that could only come from " one who knows" . Thank you for expressing your thoughts and continuing to touch the hearts of many.