Two Hundred Sixty-Eight

There’s a “what if” just waiting to be asked when something unplanned, unexpected, or unwanted happens. That “what if” can jar one into greater appreciation of what is, a more acute gratitude for the life benefits one enjoys without giving them thought or acknowledgement. For example, I have taken my eyesight, flawed though it always has been, for granted. I rarely focus my attention on my ability to see; it’s a given. Yet, when I experienced what amounted to blindness after my recent cataract surgery, the idea of permanent blindness bubbled to the surface like a reckless diver desperate for air. Even though I knew (and continue to hope) the loss of my vision was temporary, I felt a sense of panic. I imagined what my life would be like were I to lose my eyesight.

After recovering from that momentary panic, I considered other aspects of life that I take for granted; the ability to breathe easily, the ability to be self-sufficiently mobile, the ability to speak and type and record my thoughts. Any one of these could disappear in an instant. I suppose my thoughts don’t necessarily turn to “what if” they were to be gone, but instead to a greater appreciation of the abilities I have.

I don’t offer my thanks to anyone or anything for these attributes of my life; rather, I simply take some time to appreciate and recognize them for what they are and to hope I am never forced to leave them behind.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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