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An Attitude of Gratitude Redux

04/20/2023 10:55:22 AM


Rabbi Jeffrey Myers

A deluge measured in feet. Nickel-sized hail. 82 degrees. Flights delayed for hours, if not days.  35 degrees. Possible snow. What an adventure it was. I took a 48-jaunt to Florida to celebrate my mother’s 90th birthday. Little did I know that this would include what some are calling the storm of the millennium. Just my luck, right? The airport had been closed because of, if I read it correctly, five feet of water. Perhaps I should have taken a boat to Florida? I finally arrived, and, as my luck would have it, the car rental agency’s desk was closed. Now what? The lines at the other major agencies were immensely long. Fortunately, another agency intelligently responded to the severe weather by staying open late, so I was able to rent a car from them. Wish me luck on getting a refund from the first company.

After lunch on Monday, the skies opened up again, and nickel-sized hail bombarded the car as the streets flooded. I was unable to find a gas station with gas, as the main terminal was flooded, and tankers could not access it to begin their deliveries. My flight out of Florida was changed eight times, and I began to wonder if I would sleep in the airport that night. I finally got to bed at 4:00AM, but I was home, safe and sound.

It could be easy to just complain about the travel and the weather, but I have a feeling, based upon the severe weather that California has experienced, that this will become far more common than desired. I think that we will need to budget in flight insurance as a regular cost, and anticipate delays as part of our schedule. Returning the day before might need to be rethought, with a two-day cushion more reasonable.

I could have easily just used an app and placed a video call, but the joy it brought my mother to have her family together was worth the aggravation. How fortunate to have a parent alive at the age of 90. It is not something to take for granted. But then, as some of you might recall, I have written previously about not taking time for granted, the pun about calling it the “present” because it is a gift. I’d like to think that I have tried to use my time wisely, although I’m certain that I do less of a good job at it than I think. I can tell you that after surviving a mass shooting, I value time and my life far differently than before. Perhaps you may also either have experienced a life-changing moment, or know someone who has. Your perspective on life cannot be the same afterwards, and hopefully it is for the better.

While it would certainly have been better to reach that perspective on my own, the swift kick was most likely necessary, a wake-up call to reorganize priorities and focus on what is really important in my life, who or what really matters. Old baggage was discarded, taking up too much space in my life, and doing so eliminated so much clutter. The people who matter in my life made it clear through how they keep in contact with me that they value that relationship. Those who did not made their choices for me.

I wake up each morning grateful that I am alive, that I have been given the gift of another day. We never will know the duration of that gift, so we must use it wisely before it’s gone. May each of us grow in our appreciation for what we have and the people in our lives, and may we find ways to acknowledge gratitude for these gifts. I stand before you grateful.

Sun, April 21 2024 13 Nisan 5784