There is so much we take for granted. That is, until we are in danger of losing it or actually do. In my own, case, the one thing I don’t take for granted is breathing, something that is so basic that most people don’t think about it. My own breathing problems are self-induced from several years of smoking 3 packs of cigarettes a day. Talk about taking something for granted. But in 1985 one night I was having great difficulty breathing such that I went to an emergency clinic. As my wife was driving me there, I noticed that my fingers were turning blue and that I was getting very light-headed. My good friend Dr. F.J. Guerra saved my life that night. I have never taken my breathing for granted since then.
I also believe I’ve learned not to take my legs and feet for granted. I love to run yet, for short periods of time, was unable to do so because of stress fractures and sprained knees. My family can tell you how insufferable I became when unable to run. Now, every day I can run is a gift.
Sadly, though, there are other things I take for granted. I love reading yet I take for granted vision. I love music yet I take hearing for granted. I love Mexican food yet take taste for granted.
Similarly, we can be inclined to take loved ones for granted, thinking that they will always be around, that they know we love them, etc. A sudden loss puts all that taking for granted into sudden and tragic perspective.
The solution for taking for granted is obviously to be grateful and to express that gratitude, be it to the God of one’s understanding or to the ones we love.
Here then is a beautiful piece of film of some special people who obviously come to see hearing as the gift it is:
Relection: Who or what have you taken for granted? What have you learned not to take for granted?
Whenever I hear the expression “taking for granted,” I’m reminded of the Catholic/Buddhist/pagan priest, Brother David Stendl-Rast (gotta love anyone with THOSE credentials) who wrote a fabulous little book called “Gratefulness, The Heart of Prayer.” I try to read it every year around Thanksgiving. In there, David explains that everything we experience is “granted” by a power greater than ourselves. We may “take something for granted,” but in fact, it has been “granted” to us. In other words, EVERYTHING is a gift—or it is an opportunity to open to the possibility that if it is something we don’t like, it may have shown up to become our teacher. There is much that I take for granted, but much less today than earlier in my life. I don’t think that is just about aging. I think it’s also about the deep gratitude that has grown in me as a result of suffering and the many blessings of life that I get to experience.
Oh my, I take so much for granted. There are times when I am so focused on what is wrong with my life (and there is a lot) that I forget there are some people who waited years for me just so that I could have a life at all. I sometimes take for granted the 1% of the US population who put on the uniform of the United States so that I don’t have to do it.