This I Believe

Ellen - Baldwin, Maryland
Entered on January 7, 2008
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: gratitude
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This I Believe

I believe in being grateful.

My body is so imperfect. I eat too much and exercise too little. I spent way too much time in the sun when I was younger. Just look at my freckles, sun-spots, and wrinkles. But I am healthy. I have not lost my hair to chemo. I did not lose one of my legs while fighting for our country. I have two eyes that can see and two ears that can hear. I am able to walk and talk, eat and drink, smile and laugh and cry. I am keenly aware that my health could be taken from me at any moment. I am grateful for my body.

My house needs work. The kitchen floor is coming up at the seams. The ivy we tore off the siding has left stubborn remnants that refuse to come off. The front walkway is so overgrown with grass and weeds, it might as well not even be there. As soon as we finish one project, another one pops up. But I have a house. There are so many people in this world who do not even have a house. My house is warm and cozy. And my kids all have their own rooms. How lucky am I? I am grateful for my house.

My country is at war. I don’t believe in war. Right now, the war seems far away. But I know from September 11, 2001 that the war can be right here. We live in a global world where the borders are blurring. If only people could agree to disagree and live peacefully. But so many people in our world live with war and unrest and hunger and disease. There are people who choose to defend our country and try to improve the lives of others. And they are dying. For my freedom. These people are my heroes. I am grateful for my country.

People have faults. We all do. Sometimes people can drive me crazy. But, to me, people are what life is all about. The connections we make and the love we share. People can be taken from us without warning, at any moment. If we could remember this at all times, wouldn’t we love each other better? And wouldn’t the insignificant details of life be just that—insignificant details? I have the most wonderful family and friends in the world. We do not always agree with each other and we don’t always get along. But we always love each other. And that is all that really matters. Life is fleeting. This I believe. I am grateful for people.