I finished a book last night (What She Knew by Gilly MacMillan, for my teacher friends--a great read!). I've been working on it for awhile. Usually by the time I get to read, my eyes are already closing as I fall into bed, and I'm lucky to make it a few chapters. Nevertheless, this quick-paced, English mystery about a child abduction held my attention until I often feel asleep with the book on my face! Last night as I reached the end of the book, one of the narrators looked back on her journey in the book with these words:
"What I know now is that...I should simply have been grateful for what I had. I should have celebrated my life as it was, imperfections, sadness, and all, and not forensically examined its faults." --What She Knew by Gilly MacMillan
When I read these words last night, I dog-eared the page, certain that I would want to look back at the quote again, possibly to blog. Lots of books have great quotes, but this one struck me. I identify with it in so many ways.
My life has changed so much during the last year, for the better. For those of you that don't know me, two radically successful brain surgeries have allowed me to go from wheelchair to mobile again. My life was effectively given back to me after an 8-year fight with a debilitating, progressive disease. With my recovery just a few months old, I find many reasons to be thankful this March.
And, yet...so many reason not to be thankful, if I allow myself.
I could list a dozen things that haven't gone my way lately, some of them pretty big. It's just that I choose not to.
What this author was expressing was a regret at not just rejoicing in the small things, the imperfections...life as it was, not as she wished it to be. This resonated with me, because of all regrets that I could have at the end of my life, this is the one I fear the most, perhaps: to have not lived life to the fullest as it was given to me, but instead to have spent my days wishing for what I do not and cannot have.
To me this is one of the saddest things of all. Dreaming of a better life is one thing, but living each day looking at faults instead of blessings is another issue entirely. This book and this quote were excellent reminders of this promise I've made myself.
Live with gratitude.
Live without regret.
Live with love and kindness.
But, mostly, to live, while celebrating the beauty of life, not focused on what I would change.
So far, for me, it has proven to be a happy, joyful place to be...