What are You Grateful For?
I didn't expect to have a personal lesson in gratitude this week, but I did.
I stretched my own body into downward dog pose, fingers wide pressing into the mat, and I spoke to the class about having gratitude for being here on our mats each week, gratitude for this moment.
“During class when your mind drifts to self doubt and feelings of inadequacy … stop and remind yourself that there are other people who wish they could be here physically on this mat.”
Little did I know that the next day I’d have a personal lesson in gratitude.
Tuesday, after picking up some paint from the Home Depot, I was the first car at the intersection of Cherry Hill Road and 47th Avenue waiting to turn left toward U.S. Route 1. I stared off thinking of what to cook for dinner that would be quick and easy so I could get a head start on a painting project in my living room.
My light turned green and I began to make my left-hand turn when a huge commercial dump truck ran his red light and hit my car! The impact pushed me into the turning lane of oncoming traffic. I got out of my car and approached the truck driver, my mind racing with questions of what to do. Do we call 911 even though neither of us was hurt? Do we call the police, and what number is that?
As I approached the truck driver I asked, “Who should we call?” He turned his back on me and flipped open his cell phone.
“Are you calling the police?” I asked.
He ignored my question and walked away from where I am standing; I remained there stunned by his behavior when an unmarked car approached with lights on his dash and a firefighter license plate on the front of his car. I exhaled in what feels like the first time in minutes. Thank you, Universe!
This total stranger happened to be driving by, a retired firefighter who is now working at the University of Maryland as a paramedic. We had some time to kill while we waited for the police to arrive after he kindly called it in over the dispatch radio in his car. I learned a lot about him but sadly forgot to ask his name.
My brand new minivan was towed away, the dump truck driver received a traffic violation and we went our separate ways.
Life experiences like this one force me to take a step back and look at my life … Am I on the right path? Am I fulfilling my purpose? It also leaves me overflowing with gratitude. I’m so thankful that I woke up with a sore neck the following day; it could have been so much worse.
I hold my kids longer when tucking them into bed. I won’t forget to ever tell them that I love them. I’ll stop rushing through life and I’ll be grateful for each moment - even when the moments contain whining, brothers arguing over whose turn it is to pick the movie, and juggling one car between two working parents.
I’m grateful for life.