Privilege. It’s such a loaded word these days. People can get downright defensive when they are told they’re privileged, but after a freak accident left me hospitalized and unable to walk for months, I now have a new appreciation for the little things I never before considered privileges.
The privilege to care of our families
It is easy to get caught up in the day-to-day and take things for granted. I do it. We all do it. This isn’t a shaming article, just a gentle reminder from someone who for a short time lost the ability to do those monotonous tasks, those things we sometimes dread doing, never once considering them privileges. Doing dishes, laundry, carpool, going to work, heading up the bath and bedtime routine – whatever it is that you do day in and day out you take for granted, I’m asking you to stop, right now, and appreciate your privileges. Take a good look at your messy, beautiful life and be grateful for what you have.
The privilege of folding socks
Sometimes, I look back on that Thursday, which began just like any other day, and ended with me hospitalized and completely debilitated. I shudder at what I went through, yet it is NOTHING compared to what others endure. I faced a broken ankle and a sprained ankle (all I did was trip in my front yard, y’all. No cool story here). I had emergency surgery and was left unable to walk for weeks, and only barely walk for months. I honestly do not remember most of November and December 2015. Those eight weeks are a giant blur. I sat as a spectator and watched life go on all around me, yet I could not actively participate. I felt almost like a ghost. I lost out on so much time with my children, and I missed things I had taken for granted for so long. I missed shuffling my kids to and from school. I missed taking them to karate. I missed being part of the routine, the ordinary life with my family. I missed folding socks!!
Sometimes, I sit and fold socks, something I couldn’t do for nearly three months, and I am thankful. I am thankful for my three amazing children who can get socks dirtier than I ever imagined possible. I am thankful for the ability to work from home so I can be the one to fold the socks. I am thankful for the mundane. I am thankful for all of my abilities and privileges in life.
The privilege of being here right now
Sometimes, it takes a huge life jolt to remind you just how lucky you are. Sure, we all have problems and issues, but when you look at the big picture, if you have the time, computer, Internet, eyesight and reading comprehension required to be reading this post, you are lucky. You are blessed. Take a moment to appreciate all that you have, because you never know if it will be taken away.
Being thankful for what I have does not diminish my wants, my struggles or my failings, but it does give me a much more positive outlook on life. You can say your life is worse than mine, or I don’t know what you go through, and that is true, but I know you have something to be thankful for … something that you don’t appreciate now but would miss like crazy if you couldn’t do or have anymore.
Sometimes, I think I’m unqualified to write this because what happened to me was temporary and non-life threatening. I was never in danger of dying. I would eventually return to normal. Who am I to tell others not to take things for granted? And then I realize, it is because I AM back to normal, because for me it isn’t too late. That is precisely why I can sit here and tell you to stop taking the mundane and the ordinary for granted. I was able to witness life go on around me, without me really in it, but I was able to come back. Everyone doesn’t get to come back. A tragic accident, a cancer diagnosis, an incapacitating disease which strikes out of nowhere…people who endure such things do not always get to come back. Once they realize they should not take life for granted, their life is altered for good.
Today, I sat and folded socks. And I was grateful. Be grateful today for whatever boring thing you have to do. We all know someone who will never have the privilege of doing those things again.