Happy Friday, Dear Readers.
Let’s face it: life can be very hard, and it can be cruel. Sometimes even the day-to-day routine of paying bills, cleaning the house, driving the kids to a gazillion different places, and putting in your time at a day job can wear you down. It’s so easy to forget to be grateful.
I’d like to think I’ve learned a few lessons about gratitude in my time. I was supposed to be in a wheelchair by my early twenties. My best friend died in a tragic accident when I was seventeen, and another young friend committed suicide. So I know life is short. I know that there are no guarantees, so you should be kind while you can and grateful for what you have.
But sometimes, I forget.
Right now, I’m grateful that I was born a storyteller. Since I can tell stories, I am regularly connected with people who have the most amazing stories to share. Sometimes they are simple, like that of the man who left a Hutterite colony with only the clothes on his back, and now runs one of the most successful catering businesses in the province, if not the country. Sometimes they are more unusual, like the elderly woman who as a young girl carried messages in her shoes to the Allied Forces during World War II, while a Jewish family hid for their lives in her home. I never know at the start what each interview will ultimately teach me, but it’s quite often a lesson of gratitude, courage, and resilience.
Human beings are nothing if not resilient.
My most recent lesson in gratitude came from a 28-year-old heart transplant recipient. Kristin found out she had a heart condition at 18–news that was a huge shock to this healthy, active woman, but which never stopped her for a second. When her nasty “stomach flu” in 2009 turned out to be heart failure, she faced each challenge with love, laughter, and such optimism. This young woman–who has already been through much more than most of us will ever face in our lifetime–made me laugh…and cry…several times during our interview. And she generously allowed me to tell more of her story on this blog, which I will do at a later date. I want to take the time to honor her story.
I am grateful that people like Kristin are willing to open up and share their stories with me, so I can share them with you. This is a gift I never take for granted. And I’m grateful that my own heart–though bruised and somewhat jaded–is still open to being moved and changed by the people I meet through my writing.
What are you grateful for? Have you ever met an extraordinary “ordinary” person?