The master key

I just returned home from two weeks in Japan and I got sick. It started with a dry cough. Then the fever kicked in. Sneezing. Congestion. Sinus pressure. I spent the past two nights on the couch and tonight will probably find me there as well. These are definitely not-much-fun kind of days but I am determined to make the best of it.

As I moan because my head hurts and my entire body aches, I make sure to also say out loud:
“I got sick after we got home and not while we were on the trip. That’s lucky!”
“I had a good night sleep, that’s nice!”

I want my daughter to see me look for the good in any situation. I want it to be part of her nature because it wasn’t part of mine. I grew up among a culture of complaining. And even there, my complaining was super sized. In HighschooI, my friends called me Grumpy Smurph.

My mother was always dissatisfied, always wanting more, always waiting for things to magically be great some day. That day hasn’t come and most likely never will. She’s been standing in front of a closed door all her life, complaining about everything and everyone, completely oblivious of the fact that gratitude is the key. Gratitude would get her to the other side but she feels none. She’s never seen the point. How ironic.

My husband, on the other hand, is the picture of positivity. His Dog Brother* name is Lucky Dog. Because that’s what he always says: “I’m so lucky“.

Last year, he had to undergo a colectomy, quite an invasive surgery that required a grueling recovery. It was hard! Yet, this is what he believes: “I’m so lucky medicine has made such advances, I was able to have this surgery. Fifty years ago, I’d probably be dead by now.”

That’s my man.

Like my mother, I want more but, unlike her, I am grateful for what I have right now. And I have so much.

Even sick, I am so lucky.
I have the luxury of being my own boss and taking a break when I need it. I can stay home to recover.
I have a husband who dotes on me.
I have a daughter, who at just six, is already asking me: “Is there anything I can do for you mommy?”
I have neighbors who babysit so I can take a break.
I have medicine that is making me more comfortable.
I have good food that my tummy tolerates.
If I needed anything, there are stores only a short drive away. 24 hours a day!

Just as I’ve watched my husband and learned, our daughter watches us and learns. We’ve already given her a head start in life: she was born in Kailua, Hawaii, USA. Luck of the draw. A pretty good hand if you ask me. But what would be the use of having all of this, of having any of it if she didn’t have a grateful heart?

My mother came to Hawaii once and complained the whole time. The beaches were either too full or too empty. The food was not good. The pumpkin patch was too fake. The neighbors too close.

Where you are. What you have. None of it matters if you are blind to it.

Our daughter is lucky she was born with perfect eyesight. Our job now is to teach her to see with her heart. When the going gets tough, we don’t want her to look for hope, we want her to BE the hope.

There is nothing we control in this life, besides our thoughts. And mine, I’ll admit, are sometimes still dark. I am not always kind to myself and because of that I am not always kind to others. But I work at it relentlessly. I watch for those dark thoughts. I watch for those nasty words and on most days, I’m able to defeat them. I’m able to see them for the lies they are.

They want to lock all the doors around me but I hold the key to all of them.
They want to put me in a coffin before my death but I choose to live in the light.
They want to imprison me but I crave freedom.
They want me to cower in fear but I carry on with a smile on my face.

Because I-AM-STRONGER than they are.

Because my heart sees.

It sees all that is good.
All that is good in the world.
All that is good within me.

My heart speaks.

It tells of what’s beautiful.
What’s beautiful in the world.
What’s beautiful within me.

Today is good.
Today is beautiful.

Today is all I have.

As do you.


* The Dog Brothers is a group who practices stick fighting using rattan sticks and minimal protective equipment (only a head gear and gloves). My husband was one of the original members. Each member earns a nickname.

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