all that there is to celebrate: what an hour in the emergency room taught me about gratitude

you’d have thought the number of hospital visits/ talks of the last 6 months would have been enough to last me for a year atleast.

not really, though.

as the nurse slowly inserted the needle in my mother’s vein, i cringed internally. and my insides shrank. ‘only for the blood and only for the tests that won’t reveal a thing’, i chanted to myself.

the room was small and suffocating, the corridor outside loud with 4 am silence. i had only seen my mother in a less-than-healthy-state when she had an accident back when i was in the 5th grade. i remember the bandage wrapped around her head and over her eye. i remember looking at her face and feeling incredibly fragile and exposed to the elements myself. if my mother could be hurt like this, i wondered, who will i run to for protection?

the incident flashed through my mind once while sitting on the chair as the nurse set the monitor buttons and uncorked a barrage of questions, inquiring about the fever and if she had been feeling unwell in the past few days. yes, she had.

finally, after her examination and questioning were done, the nurse left and i took her place by the bed side. mom looked at me calmly and squeezed my hand, a reassuring smile on her face the whole time. i felt my heart begin to tear-up (all my emotions, in one way or the other, are wired to my tear ducts). i knew she was alright for now and notwithstanding the test results, it couldn’t be anything that serious surely. i smiled back at her, my throat tight.

ii.

appreciation (noun): the act of recognizing or understanding that something is valuable or important

iii.

“hospital walls hear more fervent prayers than do the walls of a church”

iv.

‘let this be fine let this be fine. and thank you thank you thank you’

holding my mother’s hand, i realized how precious and fleeting things were. what i had today, could be gone tomorrow. my mother’s health, vital to her own well-being, was the very rock upon which the well-being of my whole family rested.

did i take the time, then, to thank the heavens for the gift of her health?

did i take a moment to pause and appreciate how wonderful it was that she was seldom ill? did i celebrate how strong her spirit was? how she went about, cheerful and sun-shiny, through her days? did i consider how much i relied on her, unconsciously, to be the one solid thing in my life? and did i thank God for the strength this provided me?

did i remember this everyday?

v.

i know there are a 100,000 things we can name that are just not enough, just not right, or just not perfect. there is boatloads of bad news that is capable of making us feel hopeless in a nanosecond. there are all the things we should, could, shouldn’t, couldn’t, do.

but then there is the other side, too.

the one that is already perfect and sorted and thriving. the one where we need do nothing but celebrate and hold in our awareness, all the little but significant blessings that are in a day.

it is a place where we are enough. and whatever is in front of us, is enough, too. just as it is.

what if we paused the incessant chatter of our complains and the casual remarks about how things will always be downhill for us?

what if, in place of looking for evidence that today, tomorrow, and the day after that is again going to be the same old, disappointing story, we invested our energy in looking for evidence that we are wired to be happy and are in fact, moving into a new and much more fulfilling narrative?

what if we stayed on our toes for things that are already, consistently going right?

and what if we committed to doing this every single day?

we see what we choose to see. and if we make the choice to pinpoint the places in our life where we feel fulfilled, on-fire, and where we are being blessed, we open up the door to that energy spilling out into other aspects of our life as well. i, personally, don’t want to cruise through life with one wish after another and without ever taking the time to stop and actually smell the roses. we wanted to plant and grow and enjoy those roses, right? won’t we stop for a moment now to see them fully and inhale their beauty?

vi.

in the kitchen again. it’s incredibly hard to separate a mother from her sense of responsibility. now is no exception.

‘will you please just go and rest?’ i storm at her, pulling her away from the sink. ‘i’ll do the dishes.’

she is ready to protest. ‘you can’t be washing utensils all days’.

‘its fine’, i say, firmly. ‘i’ll do them.’

after some more coaxing and imploring, she concedes and goes out of the kitchen. i thank God she listened to me and that she is back to being her normal self.

vii.

our gratitude doesn’t have to be perfect, nor do we have to be perfect in our practice of it. but, if what we are desiring are richer, more meaningful days, then its imperative that our practice be consistent.

so, in the spirit of the fresh lesson i just learned, i am choosing to stop listening to the myriad of things that aren’t right/ good enough/ perfect enough and instead, actively seek out the ones that are making me happy and glad to be alive. day after day after day.

here’s a snapshot of what is filling my heart to the brim on this Sunday afternoon:

  • mom + her strong as steel spirit. she refused to let her illness bog her down and instead focused her energy on getting and feeling better. i love this lady for all her strength and humanness. ❤
  • spotting the Big Dipper at 5am. the wee hours of the morning are the perfect time to do some super stargazing + constellation mapping. i had never seen this saucepan constellation before and finally being able to trace it, made me go ‘omigoshomigosh yaaayy!’
  • the fact that chocolate exists in varied forms- cake, sauce, Nutella, bars- the whole lot of it.
  • February afternoons that are warm + windy in equal measure. this transition from winter to summer is one of my favorite times of the year!
  • this blog and each and every one of you who takes the time to read what i write.

in the comments below, i’d love to know what’s making you + your heart do a happy dance. 1,2,3,4,5. any number of them (the more, the better). with all the time we’ve spent rehashing the blah-ness of our days, we’d get some , relief from counting the tangible goodness of them, no?

with gratitude + heartfelt Light,

Esha

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