“Angie stayed in this rehabilitation facility through Thanksgiving. She had a permanent catheter, called a picc line, in her arm that they pumped antibiotics into two times a day. She had been very, very sick, and this was standard procedure to flush her body clear of the infection in her groin. Xavier and I brought her a turkey dinner with all the trimmings, and we gave thanks that she was still walking among us. Silently we prayed to the Lord God Almighty that this second near-death experience would be the end of all our trials and that she would be ready and able to embrace life now.
But I no longer gave God lists of what I wanted. That’s not how faith works. I was not in charge—He was. I had spent too many years hopping on and off this freight train to hell, and I wanted, I deserved, some peace in my life. Only by turning my willful, arrogant self over to Him would I be able to achieve the serenity, now and again, that they talk about in the Program.
And so, several years ago, I started keeping a daily gratitude journal. At its worst, it’s a distraction from the pain of losing someone you love. At its best, it’s a transformative tool. Every day when I wake up I write down something to be thankful for: from the gift of my grandchildren, to my favorite rosebush, now in full flower. And as the list grows, so, too, does my sense of abundance.
It’s all so true: my attitude about my life is everything. And I was seeing on this journey of mine that I had a clear and irrefutable choice about how to live what was left of my life. I didn’t want to be miserable anymore. It was my decision when I brought Angie home from that rehab facility to be happy. And I still feel that way. It all depends on how I choose to see things. And I choose to raise my spirits with a daily remembrance of all the good things in my life.”