Sunday, November 18, 2007

Thankful for Body Parts

A while ago, I was walking down the street thinking about how lucky I was to be able to walk down the street. I thought how hard it would be to be blind, deaf, or legless. I wouldn’t be able to see the sky or trees, hear the birds or traffic, saunter or skip down the sidewalk.

Or what if I had a constant toothache or migraines that wouldn’t go away? Even minor pains and discomforts could eat into your enjoyment of a simple thing like a walk down the street on a sunny, breezy day.

This was before I had cancer. Now that I have cancer, I’m even more grateful for every day that I’m not bedridden or incapacitated because I know that day will come.

I used to put a value on the things we take for granted with a game I called, “Choose Your Body Parts”. This was before cancer. I’d ask Tony what body part he’d most be willing to give up. I’d go through the pros and cons of losing an eye versus an arm – I’d rather lose one eye over an arm, but if it were BOTH eyes, I’d rather lose an arm.

Tony thought this was a sick game. But what I was doing was imagining what life would be like without basic things we take for granted, like our sight, our hearing, our ability to stand up and walk.

When I was a 5th grade teacher, we had the students tape their thumbs down to their palms for an entire day to see how it would feel. Here’s something unusual to hear from a ten-year-old: “Thank goodness we have opposable thumbs!” You should try it. You’ll come away appreciating something you’ve probably never even given a thought to. And maybe many other things as well.

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