Monday, May 3, 2010


Saturday night, we were out again for dinner at Tuscanny this time. But I am not going to write a review about that place because as we finished dinner and headed to try our luck at the casino, I realized there was something more important to talk about.
We sat at the bar facing a poker machine and put in a 100 USD hoping to make money out of it, double it, triple it perhaps and share the winnings. HA! Isn't that what everyone thinks though, when in reality we end up feeding our money to the machine and having a little bit of fun in the process. But that is it.

As we played the first two rounds, a young man came and sat right next to my chair, and began playing on the next machine. What was surprising about the guy is that he had only one arm and it was not even real. Have you seen the character hook from Peter Pan? Well it was Hook sitting next to me really. He was cute looking and I noticed his right arm was missing and his left was a metal ending in two bended hooks that acted as two fingers.
I watched him use this hand to do everything, from placing the money into the machine, to holding the pack of cigarettes to his face and drawing one into his lips, to lighting a match and then smoking.
It was then that I thought to myself about the things we take for granted. Little things like being complete that we never think about until something dramatic happens. Most of us go through life and never even give thanks to their present condition, even physically. We complain when we are sick, when we are hurt, when a part of our body is not functioning properly, though we never stop and think of how blessed we are to be complete, aching or not.
Most of us abuse our bodies; we smoke too much, we drink too much, we party too much and eat too much. The body is a temple indeed, and it is up to us to respect it and be grateful for what it is.
Many people look at themselves in the mirror and hate their bodies, when in reality, they should be thankful that is it complete. You might have big hips, but isn't it better than having a missing arm?
The guy at the bar, despite his apparent handicap to others, felt complete and capable of everything. I even tried to light his cigarette when I saw him struggling with the match and he strictly refused my help. He was too proud to ask for help perhaps, or he was simply grateful that he could still perform his daily tasks as he was now.

It is hard to give thanks to the little things that we take for granted simply because we forget they are there and expect to have them for ever.
Did the guy above ever think he was going to lose both his arms, I wonder, and was he ever thankful for being complete before his accident?
I did not dare ask him this question though I was nosy enough to ask how it happened. He did answer me, but I did not want to press any further because I did not want to make him feel uncomfortable, though in truth it was perhaps I who felt uncomfortable.

Speaking of giving thanks, I have downloaded lately an app on my Iphone called Gratitudes, that enables me to enter 5 entries on a daily basis to express my thanks for the things that I have.
It was then that I began noticing, that most of the things I asked for were already given to me, and most of what I wanted I already had. I may not have kept what I had, but I did have it at one point.
Not everyone has an Iphone, but everyone can start making a list of 5 things they are grateful for on a daily basis and with time start paying attention to the great things they already have.
I was not the most positive person on earth, in fact I was amongst the most negative if anything, but as I reviewed my past, my opportunities, my happy moments, my possessions and the rest, I realized that I have much more than most, and so I began to be thankful for that which I have and even for that which I do not have.
I mean, what is it about what we don't have that keeps us wanting it? We all know that once we get what we want we lose interest in it anyways. Why not concentrate on what we already have and try to keep it instead.
There is a proverb that goes something like this; one bird in your hand is better than 10 on a tree, in other words it is better to have one thing guaranteed than to wait on 10 maybes. And most of us forget about the guarantee and chase the 10 other possibilities.
Others say, it is only when you lose what you have that you learn of its value. Sadly, that is also true, I have found. But not only do we let go at times of what we already have but chase after it again once we lose it.
It is like having a big jewel that upon receiving it you knew it was valuable but with time, you got tired of staring at it, and then forgot it was even there. Then one day a thief walked in and robbed you clean. Looking amongst your scattered possessions you remembered the jewel but could not find it. It was then that you remembered how valuable it was and now you ache because you lost it. Though it never occurred to you to protect it, because you assumed it was always going to be there.
Sadly, if it was a thief who robbed you, then you will not be getting that jewel back.

The jewel could mean anything really, if you give it meaning.
The jewel can be your life, while the thief can be time. It could mean your loved one while the thief could be death. It could mean your relationship with someone while the thief could be your possessiveness or carelessness. It could be your body while the thief could be your recklessness.

And sometimes we don't express our gratitude for something because we don't use it. We buy things and are so happy at first, and then we store them away as though their value will increase with dust and time. And then later we look at them again and say oh they were so nice, so bright, so handy but now they are useless. That could refer to many things as well.
I don't know if it is human nature or if it is something we develop with time. But ever since we are born we take things for granted, we take the air for granted, we take our living for granted, we take the people in our lives for granted when nothing lasts for ever.

Does that mean we have to look around us everyday and value everything we see? Perhaps it is so. Our planet is dying as we speak simply because we never nurtured it and took it for granted. Maybe we should look around us every day, notice the birds singing, the sun still shining, the moon appearing at night, the breeze hitting our faces, the people still alive who cross our path, the possessions we have that we can still enjoy, the body we use every second to go on and the air we breathe that keeps us alive.
Perhaps we should humble ourselves and accept that nothing in our possession is truly ours, for everything with time ceases, and nothing we have at present is to last a lifetime, and no one in our life is ours either, but that we are all together, sharing what we all have, sharing what is already given.
I guess, in order to be thankful for anything, we simply have to open our eyes or re-adjust our vision to what we already have.

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