All too often, we get caught up in life and forget to be grateful for our blessings. Some people are better at this than others. They feel blessed for their morning coffee to their cozy bed and everything in between. There are others who feel life has dealt them a cruel blow and their coffee is too weak or too cold and their bed is too hard, well you get the picture. The other day a friend posted one of those cartoon-like pictures on Facebook that I felt compelled to re-post The saying was, “Don’t have anything to be grateful for? Check your pulse!”
I was compelled to re-post because I believe it is so true and in the last few years, I am realizing more and more what a precious gift life really is. After two miscarriages, I was fortunate enough to go on and have three healthy boys. I have watched my neighbor and several family members struggle with cancer. Some have beat the battle and some have not. I have also watched family and friends struggle with the deaths of those close to them. Some due to the aforementioned cancer, old age, but others were completely shocking. Each of the survivors would be grateful for another day with their loved one.
Over a year ago, one men escaped death and his family and friends celebrate each and every day that he has had since. Last fall, my family and I met Travis Mills. He is the young man who escaped death. He was serving in Afghanistan with the military when he set his bag down on what was unfortunately a IED. Travis became the fourth of 5 quadruple amputees in the war and has every reason to be bitter and ungrateful, yet on April 10, he celebrated his Alive Day.
We met because my oldest two sons were selling popcorn with their dad in front of a grocery store in Rockville. My youngest son and I happened to stop by to get a few groceries and to visit the boys, when the other boys were talking to Travis. The older boys had asked Travis to buy popcorn and he was trying to get money out of his wallet using his claw hand. He asked my seven year old for help. The boys were a little nervous and uncomfortable at first, but they also thought it was kind of cool because they are fans of Star Wars and in real life they got to see someone with artificial limbs that were functional.
Travis was amazing and so patient with the boys. He told them what had happened to him and showed them how his arms worked. That day he was in a wheel chair without his prosthetic legs because they weren’t feeling good. He had gotten a new pair and had worked out really hard the previous day. Travis was with his father in law, but was clearly independent. He was grateful for his service and he did not regret being there even though he lost all his limbs. He was also grateful for his life and his family especially his young daughter.
I am grateful my family and I got the chance to meet Travis. We have talked about how inspiring he is and how he has had to overcome many obstacles to resume his life. Even though we have not met again, my family and I are following Travis and his journey on his Facebook page. I invite you to follow his journey as well. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Support-for-Travis-Mills-and-family/525105887541986
In addition, I challenge you all to start keeping track of the things you are grateful for. When the days are dark, it is helpful to see how many blessings you really have. Not everyone is an optimist and can see the glass half full, but each of us has something (probably many things) that are blessings in their life. Go out today and be sure to count your blessings. When you do, you will be surprised at how many more come your way.