Choice, luck and gratitude signs

“Start each day with a grateful heart” is printed on a wooden sign that a friend gave me. I have that inspirational message hanging on the wall in front of my bed. They remind me first thing in the morning to be thankful. Such a simple instruction but sometimes very difficult to do. My mind quickly fills with the duties of the day and sometimes I am reluctant to leave the warmth of my comfortable bed. However, if I can divert my attention from the activity and instead tap into an inner gratitude for the mere fact that I am alive, then each breath becomes a sacred gift. Earlier this year, I had a close encounter with death and I can say firsthand that I no longer take the blessing of being alive for granted.

Maybe the universe needed to shock me back into an attitude of gratitude. It was 7:15 pm on September 23 when death brushed me. I was crossing the street with friends at a beachside crosswalk after my friend Shaun’s birthday celebration. I was the last in the group when suddenly I heard a scream from across the street. “Liah! Watch out!” Then suddenly, as if by instinct, my friend Patricia, who was walking ahead of me, grabbed my arm and pulled me out of the way of a speeding red car. She was wearing a black dress on that dark night and the driver didn’t see me at all. The car hit the back of my dress and left an indelible memory in my mind of the bright red top that nearly took my life.

The driver was shaken and thrown on the side of the road, he apparently heard my friends screaming as they screamed as he passed. I was hyperventilating and my body was trembling from the intensity of the situation. I couldn’t speak or process. He was overwhelmed with shock and fear. He couldn’t believe the magnitude of what had just happened. If my friend Shaun hadn’t called and Patricia hadn’t grabbed me, I would have been hit by that car and thrown through space and my body would have been on the way to the hospital or I would have died on impact.

I share this because too often we forget that the little things that annoy us can rob us of our serenity and leave us feeling empty, frustrated, and meaningless instead of grateful, alive, and purposeful. If that had been my last day of life, would I have felt complete and at peace with everyone and everything in my life? I questioned, did I leave things undone, unfinished, or unmanifested? Did I settle for less than what I was meant to be, do, or have? Was I kind and compassionate to others or was I self-centered and ego-driven?

I feel like I’ve been given another chance at life. I have the opportunity to rewrite who I am and what I am here for. I have the freedom to love deeply, care positively, and make a difference in the lives of everyone I meet. Since we never know when the angel of death will come for us, we must live as if we only had today. Don’t waste any more precious time on resentment, fear, self-pity, and judgment. Instead, I chose to live in gratitude, peace, and harmony: these are my goals. I’m here to let those I love know that I love them and to show up for what life brings, even if it’s not exactly what I ordered.

Perhaps I would add to my wall poster, start and end each day with a grateful heart.

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