We had just parked in front of my in-laws for a Thanksgiving dinner. My not-so-little Mitch, always asserting his independence, began to walk awkwardly down the slight slope of their front yard to the front door. Walking can seem like such an easy thing to those of us who have muscle strength. But to Mitch, walking was difficult ... as evidenced by his awkward gait and increasingly visible struggle to lift his legs high enough to put one foot in front of another. Despite his independence, he would need help up the stairs.
Mitch was so interesting; whenever life seemed to take things away from him, his gratitude for what remained only grew stronger.
He shared his gratitude for life on many occasions and in many different ways. Each time he expressed his gratitude for life, his words were simple and profound. One day I will post the audio from a one-on-one interview with Mitch where he said "I'm grateful for life."
I think he sensed early in his life that he would only be here a short time. He knew it, in a way, just like I knew it; except I think he knew it without knowing it.
I wonder if one of the reasons he valued life so much was precisely because Mitch sensed something was seriously wrong.
Whatever the reason, because this young boy was so grateful for life, he lived and loved deeply - never taking a minute or moment for granted.
He gathered gratitude like a wise traveler might store up oil for their lamps ... in preparation for those long, dark times when the only light we might ever see will come from the light within.
Gratitude not only strengthens the heart and soul, it also serves as a light to shine ... not on what was lost, but what remains.