On this day 23 years ago, Thursday, December 14, 1995, I entered a hospital early in the morning a very sick person and woke up 14 hours later with a brand-new lease on life.
During those 14 hours, a highly skilled surgeon did something five surgeons had all expressed an unwillingness to do. He excised a balloon-like growth from my left lung allowing it to perform once again as originally designed, enabling me to live a normal, healthy life.
That new lease had no known expiry date and I expect it to remain in force for many, many more years.
I learned so much about life during those five years I spent prior to surgery and my experiences during that time have served to shape so much of what I do today.
Each year at this time I find myself reflecting on that period of my life and to the many lessons I learned always appear at the forefront of my thoughts.
During that time, on several occasions, I was told by more than one physician that it was unlikely that I would live to see a successful conclusion to this illness.
Expect a Miracle
Somehow, perhaps simply a function of not being too bright, I never, not even for a moment, believed them. I just knew that the day would come when I would be able to begin building a brand-new life and much time was spent each day simply experiencing, imagining and feeling that your life inside my head.
I learned to begin each day expecting a miracle and to this day I wake up each morning with the same expectation.
That lesson – expect a miracle everyday – has stood me in good stead in more ways, and on more occasions, then I could ever recount in these weekly blogs.
A Practice of Gratitude
The second lesson is one that has inspired a daily practice within me. That lesson taught me to make time each day to focus on those things in my life for which I am so grateful. I make the time each morning to express deep and undying gratitude for 10 things in my life that have contributed to me enjoying the quality of life I have.
This is one habit I will not skip, not even for one day. It is so important for all of us to learn appreciation for what we have for no matter how big our struggle, how deep our despair or how desperate our situation, there are so many others who have far more and far worse to deal with.
Gratitude grounds us and makes our daily reminder to “expect a miracle” so much easier because we have all experienced some type of miracle in our lives at some point.
One thing that occupies my “gratitude time” is to reflect on how lucky I am to live in a country and province that has such exquisite healthcare available to all, regardless of financial circumstance.
We frequently hear and read of the inadequacies and imperfections within the healthcare system. We hear horror stories of long waiting times, serious mistakes being made and insufficient healthcare professionals to meet all needs.
We know the system, like most, is far from perfect but the criticism we hear is generally from those who have never been true beneficiaries of the miracle of our “imperfect” system. Those of us, the true beneficiaries, instead, spend our time in deep gratitude to a system that produced a miracle in our lives.
Those who have never experienced extreme despair can never experience extreme joy and those who have never experienced massive life-changing results, can’t really understand how insignificant long waiting times are.
Take time each day to expect a miracle and to feel deep gratitude for those miracles already received.
Do this for 23 years and we’ll compare notes then.
Till we read again.