New perspective is rarely gained easily. Over the past year, I went from working out all the time to using a walker just to make it down the hall. Instead of a ham on Christmas Day, the surgeon carved my stomach open to remove a section of diseased body part. I’ve spent seventy days in the hospital. I’ve had countless needles stuck in me. I’ve had large tubes, sometimes not so delicately, pushed into several of my orifices.
Through it all, I’ve learned a very powerful lesson. One so simple I can carry it with me the rest of my life.
That lesson? Never take your sphincter for granted. That little group of muscles does a big job. Holding in a fart during an important business meeting? Thank your sphincter. Make it home just before dinner’s encore performance? Thank your sphincter.
There’s a bigger lesson here too. Like the aforementioned meeting interruption, gratitude is a wispy concept for me. I take everything for granted. As I sit in an air-conditioned room and wait to have Chinese food for dinner, I live a life most can only dream of. The vast majority of the world would beg to be burdened with what I consider problems.
Knowing this, I still struggle with gratitude. There’s always something that could be better. Something I don’t have, but wish I did. Something I do have, but wish I didn’t. Even in a fully satiated life, my focus finds the one thing I think I’m missing.
However, I actually am missing something now — a fully-functioning digestive system. And, of course, I completely took that for granted. It’s hard not to. Who thinks about being grateful for something that produces nothing but bad smells and culinary relics?
But even the most basic things deserve gratitude. The mundane is what you never truly miss until it’s gone. So I’m trying to find more gratitude in everyday, simple things. At all times, there’s something in me, on me, or around me I can be truly grateful for. If only I can remember to look.