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Life Makeover for the Year 2016

Week 30 – When gratitude makes the heart stronger

July 24, 2016

I spent this morning at the hospital with my dad who had a heart attack last week. He’s been blessed with nearly a year of good health thanks to kidney dialysis, and this is the first major setback he’s had since.

While I lean toward green juice, exercise, acupuncture, and a variety of alternative approaches to healthcare, I thank God for the advances of modern medicine. It was miraculous to see my dad go from what seemed to be the brink of death to living independently again.

This morning, as I sat with him while he finished breakfast, we talked about the challenges of staying in the hospital – being poked and prodded all day long, vital sign checks in the middle of the night, and the less-than-ideal food choices.

“You know, Cheryl,” he said, “I realized that while I could be angry and upset about being here, I could also change my thinking and see it differently.”

How so, I asked.

“Well, I could see myself as a man being treated like a king. After all, I get served three meals a day – some in bed. I have an escort wherever I go. I have people checking in on me all day long. And everyone cleans up after me.”

Oh, and he gets to watch golf any time he wants smiley2.

We talked about the healing power of gratitude and went back and forth between us listing examples…

A door on the bathroom instead of a curtain.
A spacious, private room, standard for the cardiac floor.
Clean sheets every day.
My sister Shelly, his staunch healthcare advocate.
Closed captioning on the TV (dad is nearly deaf).
Kind and competent nurses and doctors.
A room with a window so the light can come in.

As I watched my dad play this gratitude game with me, I found myself feeling thankful for the genes I inherited from him. He’s passed down his resilience and strength, especially in the toughest of times.

I know I write about gratitude a lot, and there’s good reason. It’s healing. It’s hopeful. It reorients us to what’s good in the world.

And God knows we all need to be reminded of what’s good right now.

Your heart will get stronger with each grateful thought, I tell my dad as I leave him later in the day. It’s just as important as the medication you take and the procedures you endure.

He smiles that smile that says you don’t have to tell me, kiddo, I’m your dad, remember.

And I do… and I’m so grateful to still have him with me heart-icon

dad

Video of the Week

My husband Michael shared this beautiful video with me and I knew I wanted to pass it on to you. This young man’s voice is a dream. You can watch it here. Thanks, Michael heart-icon.