Like any number of people I am probably guilty of taking for granted the bountiful number of blessings with which I was given during the first half century or more of my life. These days, spent living in the shadow of Parkinson's disease, it would be extremely easy to overlook the good things that I continue to receive. However, while still probably not as thankful as I ought to be I have really been making a concerted effort these days to look for the positive things that occur in my life.
Without a doubt the most significant blessing in my life continues to be my wife, Nancy. Over the past few years she has been transitioning from life partner to care giver as the Parkinson's makes it more and more of a challenge to do simple tasks that I once could perform without a second thought.
Nancy gives me help when I truly need it and is not shy to challenge me when I need and/or deserve a boot in the britches.
My spouse is always willing to celebrate my personal victories, regardless of how inconsequential they might seem to the average person. (Picture getting the cap back on the toothpaste tube without losing so much paste in the bathroom sink that one might think my intent is to keep it cavity free.)
Even though Parkinson's is making what I do for a living more and more of a challenge, I'm thankful to still be not only capable of working, but am still being given the chance to write. It is also a blessing to have been allowed to work from home, where a wardrobe consisting of a T-shirt and sweats is not only acceptable but mandatory, unless there is something I need to cover in person.
My health is a major blessing. Not only have I remained COVID free during the pandemic, but I have escaped serious injury during my Parkinson's-induced falls that seem to be occurring with more frequency.
One of the simpler pleasures I still enjoy is going out for a walk. Except when there was snow on the ground or it was teeth-chattering cold I would frequently go for a short walk over the lunch hour. Now with the days getting longer I've added a post-work day walk into my schedule. It was during the noon-time walk one day last week that I heard a dove cooing for the first time in 2021. Later that very afternoon, while walking close to sunset, I was treated to the sound of an owl in a grove of nearby trees.
Some situations require more contemplation in order to see anything that might be a blessing.
Hand tremors are one of the symptoms of Parkinson's. They can make a challenge out of the simplest of tasks which includes putting on a pair of glasses as I discovered recently.
When I took ownership of a new pair of glasses roughly a year ago I paid no attention to the nose tabs. However, in recent weeks as my tremors have worsened I have begun to notice scratches on my nose that were caused by the sharp tabs when attempting to place the glasses on my face with my shaking hands.
One day last week, following a noon walk, I tried in vain to put my glasses on. I stopped after it felt like I had scraped my nose again. I headed to the bathroom in order to check the damage I had inflicted upon myself. Not only did the old man looking back at me in the mirror have a scrape on his nose, but there was a big, red drop of blood slowly making its way down the bridge of his nose.
As I stood there attempting to see the blessing in the situation, it occurred to me how very thankful I am that I do not wear contacts.