The timing of this blog couldn’t be more appropriate.
This is a guest blog written by a good friend, Dan Stoddard. However, before we get into it, I want to preface his writing with a personal story from this past week. As many of you know, last weekend (5.2.20) was the day that I married my best friend and now wife (Michaela). It was hands down the best day of my life and it couldn’t have been more perfect. It was the highest high that I’ve ever experienced, but as I would soon find out, it would be followed by one of the most difficult lows. To make a long story short, just a few days after the wedding, Michaela spent some time in the hospital for an emergency appendectomy. I’m happy to report that Michaela has been making an steady recovery and we’re talking life one day at a time, feeling grateful for every single one.
The best day of our lives was immediately followed by the one of the most difficult week of our lives together.
This week has renewed my perspective on what’s important in life . Filled with gratitude and with that short story as the backdrop, let me give you Dan’s words which resonate with me and I hope, with you too.
I was somewhere in Rhode Island this past fall or winter. I was driving down to Connecticut from Massachusetts, where I used to reside from where I currently live. I was moving along, slowly but surely, listening to the Megna Method Podcast with Marc Megna featuring guest Ryan Horn, Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Wake Forest Men’s Basketball team. There reached a point in their discussion where Coach Horn brought up the phrase “never delay gratitude” and how it hangs above the locker room door at Wake Forest. I’m not sure if I just didn’t hear it in the moment or just didn’t think much of it at first. However, something inside me made me rewind and listen again.
Never Delay Gratitude
I don’t think we actually realize the weight that human relationships and interactions carry until after the fact.
I thought about and repeated those words the whole rest of my drive. From the very moment I heard this phrase, I knew I would never forget it. It stuck out to me so profoundly. I feel as though, quite often, we fail to see and acknowledge the people who are always present in our lives and the impact they have truly made on us. While we tend to go through our days looking out for ourselves and checking things off our to-do list, I believe it’s imperative to keep this bigger picture in perspective at all times. It often gets lost in the shuffle, when in reality, it is what drives the shuffle. People are what drive the everyday. You might be going about your day to help display how much a person means to you based on a task you are actively pursuing. It might not be all the time, but it’s definitely there, in the back of our minds. Life is bigger than us.
It often gets lost in the shuffle, when in reality, it is what drives the shuffle.
The relationships that we form while we are on this planet are vital. Yes, some people chase “success,”, but in the end, that’s all subjective. At it’s core, life is all about the people that you keep close to you. People, and our relationship to them, is what make life worth living. They help shape our values, beliefs, how we carry ourselves, and how we ultimately live our lives. The moments of weakness where we yearned for support and received it. The moments of celebration and the words of encouragement that we received from friends, family, colleagues and even strangers. All of these moments where we both wanted and needed those other people around us, to lift us up or keep us grounded, are inseparable from who we are at our core. It’s the culmination of sometimes small and brief human interactions that keep us going.
Take a moment to think for a second. Who are the people or maybe groups of people that have had a deep impact on your life. These periods of reflection can help illustrate the magnitude that different individuals or groups have had on our life. This awareness helps us feel and express gratitude toward those people. It helps us let them know just how important they are to us. Life is so fragile, and we should avoid missing opportunities to voice gratitude because it’s possible that we might not ever get the chance again.
Life is so fragile.
One of my favorite things in this world is telling those around me how much they mean to me and demonstrating that gratitude with actions, both small and large. It could be a little gesture such as a few simple words (thank you for being you), or it could be a grander moment where you put their life before yours. Gratitude comes in many different forms, but at the end of the day, showing someone how you care for them so deeply can make their day, their week, their month, their year and maybe even change their life. It only takes a moment of our time.
Even the smallest stones can make big ripples.
“I have realized that the past and future are real illusions, that they exist in the present, which is what there is and all there is.” Alan Watts
Expressing gratitude might not come easy to you, and that’s okay. However, just know that the next time you see someone could be the last time that you see them. In that light, it might be worth the discomfort, effort and time. I encourage you not to finish reading and say that you will. Rather, I challenge you to stop reading right here, pick up your phone and let someone know how grateful you are for them. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
I don’t know about you, but Dan’s words hit home for me. In the past week, I married the love of my life and also experienced moments where I wasn’t sure what would happen to her. I can’t even begin to describe the rollercoaster of emotions that we both felt, but the situation, while far from ideal, filled me with a new sense of gratitude. I love life and any day that I get to share it with my best friend, in sickness or health, is an absolute gift. I hope that you can find the good in the small things and find the time to tell (and show) people how much you care about them.
“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” Robert Brault
I’m grateful for you and don’t ever forget that.
Joe Rinaldi, PT, DPT