“Gratitude is the sign of noble souls.” ~Aesop

A friend of mine published a blog post about why she feels grateful for the life she leads.  I enjoyed reading how her days are filled with joy and gratitude.  Her accompanying photographs reveal the beauty that surrounds her, and I felt, for a brief moment, the light that emits from within her soul.

I felt grateful.

 

“When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.” ~Willie Nelson 

This week I learned about some tragedies that happened to a few of my friends who live far away.  Their pain was palpable as I read their pleas for prayer and good thoughts.  I reflected on my own life and my own daily struggles.  Their troubles put my own into perspective.

I am grateful.

 

 

“To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant,
to enact gratitude is generous and noble,
but to live gratitude is to touch Heaven.” ~ Johannes A. Gaertner

In 2012, Hurricane Sandy hit my home state of New Jersey hard.  Today, the Jersey shore is alive and well in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.  The old phrase “Jersey Strong” says it all, and collectively we showed our strength one more time.  There are still many people waiting for their properties to be rebuilt; to them I send my prayers.  My family only lost power for a few days.

I was grateful.

 

“No one is as capable of gratitude as one who has escaped the kingdom of night.” ~Elie Wiesel, accepting Nobel Peace Prize (1986)

Every day we are inundated with horrifying news stories capturing our attention. Violence is everywhere.  The world is a scary place.  We no longer feel the comfort and safety we once felt before the horrific events of 9/11.  We’ve become more cautious, knowing that violence happens on our own soil.  These thoughts crawl in and out of my consciousness, and I am aware of the possibilities that surround me.

I steadfastly remain grateful.

More from this author: Getting Started On Your Wellness Journey: Beyond The Diagnosis

I was surprised, thrilled and deeply honored last year to have my first ever BlogHer post about attending BlogHer with a disability featured on the cover (which I understand is hallowed ground) of the BlogHer website. I wrote it not only for myself, but also for the entire disability community.  They continue to inspire and empower me.  

I am ironically grateful for my diagnosis, because without it I would never have had a chance to meet the incredible people who have entered my life.

I will always be grateful.

 

“A noble person is mindful and thankful for the favors he receives from others.” ~The Buddha

Good and bad, decent and evil may enter into our lives at any given moment. These are the life’s realities and the truths of aging.  We all have two choices. One is to worry about what may or may not happen in our life.  The other is to be mindful of every minute of every day; thankful for the life we have been blessed with.

My wise and beloved uncle once told me, “Life is for the living.”  He told me to enjoy my life, drink it all in, and savor every pleasant moment. He said the world is a wondrous place, and it was up to me to live each day fully.  He lived by his words, and I choose to do the same.

Will you choose gratitude?

 

 

Cathy Chester blogs at An Empowered Spirit, which won third prize in Healthline’s Best Health Blog Contest in 2014, was named #2 of the “Top 10 Social HealthMakers in MS” by Sharecare “ and received a nomination for the past 3 years as WEGO Health’s Best in Show Blog. She is a contributor for The Huffington Post as well as a blogger for MultipleSclerosis.net and Boomeon. Her work has appeared in numerous publications including Midlife Boulevard, BetterAfter50, Erma Bombecks’ Writers Circle, The Friendship Circle and Woman at Woodstock.