The Attitude of Gratitude

Last night and today I experienced what we commonly call, “A Breaking Point.”

While we were in Brookings, Oregon, I mistakenly wore flip flops as we were hiking. I know, I know, how dumb of me. But, I thought since we were going to be walking the coast and stopping at beaches, flip flops would be appropriate. I was wrong. I was even more wrong because of my flat feet. I’ll never forget the day when the athletic trainer at my high school told me I had flat feet and then shin splints from running track. 

This all came out really bad after hiking during the day and night and I was feeling serious pain. I was also missing how my mom used to make me feel better when I was little, or how my dad would spoil me back to health. And even more than that, I miss being able to call my mom to hear her say “It’ll be okay sweet pea.”

So, what did I do? I cried my eyes out and ate my feelings away. How stereotypical female of me. A little bit of tears, hummus, pretzels, blue corn chips, and a black bean burger, and I was feeling a little better. Then I slept my worries away.

Except, it was freezing. I’ll never use the word freezing after the night and morning I had, because that was a whole other level of cold. After hours of trying to stay warm in our tent on the blow-up mattress covered in a blanket, I gave up and slept in the car where it wasn’t as frigid. Then, as I awoken, I sought out some relief for a warm shower, except, there was no hot water. After putting in quarter after quarter into the machine in hopes of feeling some warmth, I shivered my way through the cold water and probably made myself sicker after sneezing all morning from what I had hoped to be allergies. Then I realized..

I was complaining about aching feet, bad allergies, ONE cold night’s sleep and ONE cold shower…. how about Holocaust victims who had to take cold shower after cold shower and didn’t even get the opportunity to eat their feelings… how about homeless people who have to sleep on the cold ground all the time and wish they could complain about being cold in a tent on an air mattress… how about people less fortunate than me who have to deal with these kinds of things every. single. day. and not by choice either.

Am I upset that I am experiencing these things? Absolutely not. I’m grateful. I’m grateful because without actually going through the “pain” that is actually just discomfort like this, I wouldn’t be able to 100% appreciate warm water, a nose that breathes in air, two feet that don’t ache with every step, a warm bed to sleep in at night, and a family who cares for me when I’m not well. Saying you appreciate something because of what you have heard or seen and really meaning you appreciate something because of something you have experienced are two completely different things. And once you start being thankful for the tiniest things, even as little as the shirt on your back, the teeth you smile with, the skin that protects your organs, and the mattress you sleep on at night, you suddenly have enough. 

Because of this trip, I suddenly have enough. I don’t “need” anything else to make me happy. I just need to find the happiness within me, which is shining brighter than ever in this very moment. I have the attitude of gratitude because I choose to. I advise you to do the same 💙

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