This week, I began reading a book called, “Thank and Grow Rich.” It’s not a book about being financially rich, but actually having a full, grateful life. I have only read the introduction and a few pages of the first chapter, but I am already intrigued. One sentence stood out for me. I am paraphrasing, but it said we need to wake up each morning and choose to be grateful. Specifically, as we go about our days we need to be grateful for EVERYTHING that transpires…even the bad. I immediately stopped reading. It reminded me of a conversation I had just had with my oldest daughter, Alex. I have often written and spoken about her inspirational view on having Type 1 Diabetes. At 14, after some very tumultuous times with this disease she had come to the conclusion that her diagnosis was perhaps a gift. After only a few years with the disease she had been able to move beyond the everyday difficulties and see the greater good.
She didn’t suddenly have an epiphany that her life was sunshine and roses or discover that she LOVED needles. She did, however, choose to see it in another light.
A grateful light.
This brings me back to our recent conversation. Alex just had her 3-month check up with her endocrinologist and she called to update me. She gave me a quick synopsis of her latest stats and began discussing the conversation she had with her doctor. Her endocrinologist and his long-time Physician’s Assistant (PA) have been through a lot with Alex and our family. We have been seeing them every 3 months and sometimes more, for 11 years. They have been with us through it all, including our youngest’s diagnosis almost 3 years ago. In fact, they are the inspiration behind Alex’s dream of going to PA school. She is inspired by the care she has received and their genuine interest in her life. She, too, wants to touch people in a way that transcends a single doctor’s visit. Alex will begin the application process for PA school in April and her plan at this visit was to discuss the possibility of “shadowing” her endocrinologist to fulfill some of her hours. Before she could ask him any questions though, he asked about her plans after graduation as he knows she will have a minimum of a year before she enters PA school. He told her if she didn’t have plans he would like to hire her to be their Medical Assistant during that year. He told her he would have them teach her everything from the front desk administration and drawing blood to working with patients. The truth is, Alex has inspired them as much as they have inspired her.
Gratitude for this relationship doesn’t even begin to cover it.
Alex was stunned and of course, agreed to his proposal. After his generosity she sheepishly asked her original question, which was to shadow him over the next few months. He happily agreed and with a blood pact (okay, not really) gave her his personal email address so they could work out the details of when she could work around her class schedule.
Deep gratitude for her doctor, but what about the path that led her to this point in her life?
This is where I have to go back to the original day of her diagnosis, the days we have spent in the hospital, the tears that have been shed, the sleepless nights and the countless hours reworking her insulin doses. I didn’t feel grateful during most of these times, but perhaps I should have been. When I add all of these things up they equal a young, hard-working woman who has continued to overcome every day. These difficult days and weeks have made her who she is today.
Alex inspires me with her dedication to everything she does. She does not waiver in her focus. She inspires me to reach deep inside and find the gratitude for EVERYTHING that is happening today. So, with fresh eyes let’s shed a grateful light on on our hard days as they, too, are part of our path.
Sunshine & Sarcasm,
Lowi & G