Sunday February 25th 2018





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The Grateful Life

If you haven’t taken the time to truly appreciate your brain, you should.

If you are coherent and can think and can feel and can reason and still be touched by inspiration, then you are truly blessed.

I know sometimes it’s difficult to be grateful for all of the things that seem so natural to us, but I believe it’s a cleansing and revealing exercise to take stock of your life once in a while, and really count your blessings.

The reason that I am focusing on the brain is that recently I have been thinking about my grandma.  She was my mom’s mom, and was without question one of the most inspirational and influential people in my entire life.

She has been gone for almost ten years now, and sometimes it feels like forever.  Other times, it feels like just yesterday that she was still here.  It’s strange when you lose someone that was such a big part of your childhood.  Some of my fondest memories as a kid involved my grandma.

She was vibrant and dynamic.  But at the same time humble and appreciative.  Her smile and wonderful attitude was illuminating.  She really didn’t have trouble letting her light shine. She was funny and loved life.  She laughed and was incredibly supportive of everyone around her.  She was always willing to talk, and there was never anything  more important to her than what was important to me in that particular moment which we were sharing.  If I had to point to someone whose brain was alive and well and someone who epitomized the essence of living life, it would have been her.

Then one day she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease.

I watched a once charismatic individual who taught me so many of the wonders of life grow silent and confused.

The wonderful woman who could play the piano in church, or even thunderously at family gatherings…How Great Thou Art or the boogie-woogie were equally inspiring…was now just a bystander, with no more music to give to the world.

My own mother took on the task of caring for grandma, and so rather than live out her days in a rest home or a community of strangers, she was able to be around her family and leave this world as gracefully as she entered it.  That was noble without question, but still seemed to me to be a minor consolation for such a life as hers.  I admit now that I was somewhat bitter at what I was experiencing.

For me, seeing the one person that best represented life and living and love and joy become paralyzed mentally, and lose the ability to communicate was a horribly frightening experience.  It was humbling to say the least, but I cannot pretend that I didn’t feel like I had been cheated in some way.  And it was only when I realized how selfish that I had been, and went inside myself to change that attitude, that I was able to receive the greatest lesson that anyone could ever have taught me.

And that was to be grateful for the life that I still have.

I am eternally grateful for all the times that I ever had with my grandma.  And I’m so glad that we lived those moments with the passion as if they might have been our last.  Those memories cannot fade.

And I am grateful for every moment that I am able to spend with my own family.  My children are my chance to pass along the wisdom and lessons of life which will hopefully serve them as they live up to their unlimited potential.  My wife is just simply my soulmate.

And finally, I’m thankful for the ability to communicate and to freely give all of the talent that I have to as many others as I possible can.

Let all of us be thankful for the blessing and wonder of life.  It is a gift.

Life is what is inside you.  It is what and who you are.  It is not anything that you can buy or lease.  It is intrinsic and it can be as glorious as it can be inconspicuous.  You may never have thought of your brain as being such an extraordinary gift, but it is.  Your mind is more like your spirit and the true essence of you as an individual, where the brain acts as the motor that makes it all run, if you will.  And what a fantastic and wonderful motor it is!

Take just a moment to be grateful for the brain inside your head, and the ability to talk and think and reason and experience the life around you.  Be thankful for the opportunity to interact with all of those people that mean the most to you.

And laugh loudly, love boldly, and live passionately even after those days when the music temporarily stops.

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3 Responses to “The Grateful Life”

  1. avatar KK says:

    Lovin’ it Shippey! Thanks for brightening up my day… I watched my Mom care for my Nana, who also had alzheimers’, for several years. It was a tough time, I agree. But the thankfulness that shines through from your article is truly a gift – for that, I am thankful for you!



  2. avatar Dad says:

    The greatest lady I ever knew, she was never my mother-in-law, she was always my mother, friend, mentor, and truly the most fabulous gandmother any grandson or granddaughter chould have!

  3. avatar Mike Shippey says:

    KK – Saying that it is difficult to experience is an understatement. Being thankful for all of the wonderful times, and being grateful for what we currently have in our lives is experiencing the legacy that our loved ones who suffered leave for us in the truest way!

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