Why do people wait until they’re diagnosed with a disease or a life threatening illness to embrace life? I’m as guilty as the next person; I didn’t truly appreciate life until I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Although we’re all at different stages in our lives, we can still live in the moment and appreciate the little things in life. For instance, most days it’s challenging for me to be on my feet more than 5 minutes at a time without holding on to something to steady me so when I play with my dog Jackson outside for 10 minutes straight without sitting down or falling down, it’s a celebratory moment. I feel the same way when my daughter and I go to the mall and instead of her pushing me in a wheelchair, I use it as a walker and exercise my legs. Even though these situations may sound trite, they are little wins in my life that I relish.
It’s not just these personal triumph moments that make me happy and allow me to embrace life. Small acts of kindness go a long way too and I have decided I want to pay them forward. On several occasions, a stranger has made eye contact with me, smiled and said, “Hello” and just this little act of kindness made me feel acknowledged and alive. I have also been told by a few strangers that I have a great smile and one of them even said, “Keep smiling and shed some light on this world.” I can honestly say I’m trying to make a positive difference in this world one smile at a time. On another occasion, I was at church and I was trying to stand firmly with both feet planted on the ground but I kept losing my balance so I would put all my weight on one leg and then I would switch sides and put all my weight on the other leg. An older gentleman, whom I watched wobble in with a cane, sat right behind me and when I turned around to shake his hand for the sign of peace, he said to me, “May God heal you.” That blew my mind. All I could think was that he’s probably in worse shape than me and yet he’s asking God to help me feel better. That was truly an eye opening moment that made me appreciate and embrace life and the human spirit.
If you really think about these random moments in life that add some joy to your day, you realize that it doesn’t take much to share this same happiness with someone else. Just by acknowledging someone or appreciating something they have done helps them and you appreciate the little things in life. Don’t get me wrong, not everyone in this world is openly friendly and/or caring but that’s their issue. Our efforts to better this world should not be thwarted. By being present in the moment and not being attached to our cell phones or thinking about the next 10 things we have to get done, we might actually be able to bring some happiness to someone else’s day; thus, making our day better too.