Perspective provides gratitude

Chinese lantern

So much of our days are spent with the mundane, the necessary, the little things that help keep the wheels of survival inching ahead for ourselves and others around us.

We often don’t find it in ourselves to feel grateful, but instead, focus on that list inside our head that needs attention. We are driven to mark off each demand that life drops in our path. It isn’t until something monumental shifts in our own life that we are reminded to consider just how blessed a tedious life really is.


I remember so well one particular day, standing in line at the grocery store. We had just returned from a trip out of state, searching for answers as to why our son was sick and getting sicker. I had taken him to our local hospital to have various lab work done, returned home to get him comfortable, then headed back to town to get groceries.

I was worn out and worn down, my heart aching for his suffering. At this point, we had gone about two years without a diagnosis, and we had just been told his health was seriously declining. He was 13 years old.

I listened as the two people ahead of me in line complained about the mistreatment of a coach toward their children, one of whom didn’t get put in to play very much in the last soccer game. The heat of their anger was unbelievable to me that day.

Our son lived to play baseball. He enjoyed practice nearly as much as games, and never wanted to be a minute late for either. So, I completely understood the passion for a sport. I realized that no matter where we stand in any given moment, it’s all relative as life strikes its own balance.

That summer, Cort was too sick to put his baseball uniform on most days. He was forced to be idle and pass up what he loved most. When he did make it to a game, just sitting on the bench and cheering his team on was painful in every possible way.

A year or so later, having reached a diagnosis of Lyme Disease and other tick-born infections, all from a known tick bite that should have helped reach that answer far sooner, we still faced a battle with our area physicians who knew far too little. A treatment plan put in to place in New Jersey at great expense was shot down once we returned to our pediatrician, in spite of the fact that the IV treatment was showing significant improvement.

Instead of anger, our son has proceeded through life with gratitude. He knows his eventual diagnosis and my writing about it has helped others avoid the long, uphill battle and delayed treatment he still pays for to this day. At age 34, pain and fatigue crushes him worse some days than others. Treatment via a pump and tubing and needles is a weekly experience, and will be for the rest of his life.

He manages it all with grace. He is wiser, more compassionate, more filled with awareness of just how much a good day is worth. He stepped out of his childhood and into an emotional maturity that some will likely never reach.

We are put here together on this Earth to hold each other up, as we learn from one another.

Be open to hurts that others quietly carry; learn to live with gratitude for that which you have — and for that which you do not — as we close out this difficult year.


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Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, and three grandchildren.



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