Everything changes -- nothing stays the same.
And I'm happy to say that my brother is doing much better and in fact is shooting pool probably at this very minute with friends in Las Vegas, something he hasn't done in six weeks and which he was pretty dubious about doing for a long time because of his shoulder injuries. Oh, he doubtless has more difficult steps on that journey back to full health, but this is a welcome layover for now, and I am grateful.
Ditto with daughters 1 and 3, at least for now... while there are and probably always will be stuff to deal with, problems to face, hardships to overcome, both seem to have found a respite at this moment. For that, too, I am grateful.
When pain and difficulties seem unrelenting (even when they really aren't), finding an oasis of calm and peace and pleasure can give you the courage to step out again and continue down the harder path. It is a gift from the universe, I believe, that time.
There are always going to be people who are better off, happier, richer, healthier, more famous. There are always going to be people who are not. Being somewhere in the middle is where most of us come down most of the time. And in whatever circumstances you find yourself, there IS something to be grateful about.
Part of an e-mail I received today was about gratitude:
"Life Is a Gift
Today before you say an unkind word -Think of someone who can't speak.
Before you complain about the taste of your food - Think of someone who has nothing to eat.
Today before you complain about life -Think of someone who went too early to heaven.
Before you complain about your children -Think of someone who desires children but they're barren.
Before you argue about your dirty house someone didn't clean or sweep -Think of the people who are living in the streets.
Before whining about the distance you drive -Think of someone who walks the same distance with their feet.
And when you are tired and complain about your job - Think of the unemployed, the disabled, and those who wish they had your job.
I'd add one: at this Christmas season, remember that the cost of one dinner out can provide a hardworking local family with some Christmas blessings -- food cards, new socks, a warm blanket -- things most of us take for granted. Please consider a donation, however small or large, to an agency such as Adopt-A-Family. You can even give online with a few clicks. What you do today can change a life -- not merely a Christmas -- by helping someone find their own gratitude.