Growing up with my mother Beatrice Berry was no picnic and I’m sure it wasn’t for her either. She had 7 children and very little income to support us. She worked hard but still could not make ends meet. If we complained about something, old shoes, a bowl of beans for dinner or having to share everything, she would tell us to be grateful.
“You will never miss the water until the well runs dry,” she’d say. I probably heard this every day of my young childhood, and now my children have to hear it, so much so that this morning as I looked out onto the marsh pondering what to write about when my daughter Fatima exclaimed, “You know, you never miss the water until the well runs dry.”
Life is so beautifully round and if you just keep on living, you get to see that what you put out always comes back.
I thought back over the year and all of the crazy Calamity Jane things that happened (I know I’m showing my age again.) I had a tear on my retina, a broken hand, broken toe, concussion, bone spur and I had to have emergency gall bladder surgery. After each event I pushed on through and got back in the old game. But now that I’m through with all of that (MY DECISION) I can tell you how amazing it was to miss something I had taken for granted.
I am very right handed, I write long handed, I need my right hand, so when I broke it, I was so off balanced. I felt as if I had lost a friend whom I had failed to acknowledge. Anyone who has had eye pain will tell you that it is a most awesome pain. The eye has a bazillion nerve endings and when there is a problem, they all scream out loudly. I told the eye doctor that if the pain wasn’t so horrible, I would have wanted to study it. He grinned like he’d just won the “No you’re not a nerd” Man of the Year prize and I think I heard laughter, the snorting kind.
“That’s why I chose this field, the eye is more amazing than any other part of the body and per area has…” Then I tuned him out and went back to the pain. When I got home, I noticed something that I hadn’t before; when I think, I look to the left, which of course is where the tear and the pain were. I had to try to stop thinking just to avoid the pain.
A broken toe seems like such a small thing, but I love to walk and hike and that little piggy (The second from the left said “Wee wee wee, go all the way home.”
Amazingly, after the healing of every injury, I went back to business as usual. I moved and went about the day as I always had; no remembrance of the pain. But we need to remember the hard times. We need to have gratitude when things are good and when they are tough. I had the opportunity to view life through the eye of lack which enabled me to be more grateful.
Life is gift. Every body part, ability, thought, sense and idea should be marveled at. We are miraculous beings with incredible gifts.
· Stop for just a moment and actually look at your hand. Move your thumb and fingers. Make a fist, pick something up and hold it. Now imagine that you can’t.
· GIVE THANKS
I have a friend who just had surgery on her back. The surgery left her unable to walk. She is full of joy because she is still here. The joy she has for life makes me so grateful to know someone like that.
I have another friend who called to complain about her job. She said she hated it and the people she worked with. A few weeks later she called crying because she had lost her job. I reminded her that she hated the job and that she could now look for another one. She admitted that she didn’t realize how good the job was until it was gone.
This morning when my daughter reminded me of my mother’s wisdom, she was speaking from her own experience. Earlier in the year, she had been very sick and on life support. She sees everything as marvelous and wonderful. Her laughter is the most beautiful sound in the world. Every day, I am reminded of how wonderfully blessed/fortunate/lucky/Graced we are. Yes, I’d like her to clean her room and I am always wondering what takes her so long, but I am much more appreciative of the fact that she is here.
In this time of giving, don’t forget to give thanks. ‘Cause like my mother said, “You never miss the water, until the well runs dry.”
Bertice Berry, PhD