Sunday, November 25, 2007

Recipe for Thankfulness

First of all, happy American Thanksgiving from my family to yours! If you want to feel truly thankful on Thanksgiving, try getting really really really sick the week before. It puts all else into blinding perspective. You come to appreciate the little things - walking up a flight of steps without feeling so weak you're afraid you're going to totter right over, eating food and having it stay in your stomach, being able to keep up with your kids, let alone do simple things like prepare them a meal. This Thanksiving, I was grateful just to be able to eat a tiny bit of the lovely food and sit there with my family talking about the things we are most thankful for.

In general, I think I am a pretty grateful person. Many times as I go about my day, I smile and feel thankful for the life I am incredibly lucky to lead - for the beauty that surrounds me, my loving husband and healthy happy kids, my strong and fit body. But this little brush with incapacitation taught me about all the small things that go unnoticed, how I take my body and its capabilities largely for granted. I'm not talking about the ability to run fifteen miles either, that's easy to be thankful for because it really does seem like a miracle to someone who can still remember not being able to run one. But on a daily basis, my body performs a thousand small and seemingly inconsequential miracles, things like moving me from the chair to the counter to pour a cup of tea, or swallowing that tea and digesting it around in my stomach instead of staging a mini-revolution and sending it back where it came from, things like breathing easily and moving without pain. This week I've had cause to examine all of those privileges and realize how easily they can disappear. How quickly you can go from vibrant good health to can't get out of bed.

I've been reading a book called The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic--And How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World , which is really a fascinating book if you have any interest in epidemiology, cartography, the history of cities, and many other related subjects. But it wasn't the best book to finish shortly before being struck down with a mystery virus. The book is all about a dreadful cholera epidemic that literally took 1 out of every 10 people in the 1800's London neighborhoods it visited. As I suffered through my little bout of stomach flu, I thought of those people who went to bed one night healthy and woke up the next morning knowing that they'd be the next corpse tossed on the loaded carts that made their rounds through the streets. We go through our lives thinking the next day will be just like this one, that all the things we can do today we will be able to do tomorrow, and some days this just isn't true at all.

I'm still nowhere near 100% after this illness took my feet out from under me this week. I'm reduced to eating the BRAT diet (Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, Toast) and even my usual mug of mate' sits uneasily on me these days. I've lost about 6 pounds, but sadly my high tech scale says my body fat has gone up (now that is just blatantly unfair, isn't it!!) I went thrift-store shopping with my good friend the week before taking ill, and all of my new cute jeans that I bought now hang a bit baggily in all the wrong places. Still, I did get in the pool this weekend and tagged behind my lane of guys for aboue half the usual workout. I know it will come back quickly and for that I am grateful, as well as for everything else I am vowing not to take for granted anymore.

1 comment:

TriGirl 40 said...

Hope you are feeling much better by now! Sounds like you had a doozy of an illness. Great post on the things we should be thankful for.