What is gratitude?

Today, I am grateful for the little things, and it makes me feel very happy and dare I say fulfilled. The reason for this gratitude is that I spent most of the day helping my first child who recently graduated from college, my daughter Madison, work on her first full time job. We spent the day reviewing her job offer, understanding her benefits package, developing a budget, and then the really fun part: hunting for apartments and searching for used furniture! These simple activities are part of our invisible bond; a connection between a parent and child which we sometimes call a right of passage, and it’s incredibly powerful.

It wasn’t something I had intended to do today and it forced me to slow down, put aside my long list of ‘To Dos’ and help Madison. In exchange I received an unexpected gift, and gained a memory that I will cherish for a lifetime and for this I am grateful.

I was reminded of this video I saw about Sam Berns and how he was grateful for the simple things despite his extremely rare genetic disease. Sam shares his philosophy and one of the quotes he offers for consideration is from Ferris Bueller, played by Matthew Broderick:

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you might miss it.”

Sams’ life was taken before it really even started, yet despite his suffering and tremendous adversity, he was happy and grateful, and his life philosophy is an inspiration to us all. Watching his TED talk filled me with a profound sense of gratitude.

Sam was 17 when this was recorded, but his body was about 80. He suffered from an extremely rare genetic disease known as progeria, which causes accelerated aging. This Ted talk was published on December 13, 2013 and less than one month later Sam had transitioned from this life to the next.

As Patriots owner Robert Kraft said, “I loved Sam Berns and am richer for having known him. He was a special young man whose inspirational story and positive outlook on life touched my heart.” Sam was dealt one of the hardest lives a person could have, yet left us with a profound blessing that he passes forward, gratitude.

After tremendous suffering, when asked “what is the most important thing people should know about you,” Sam replied, “I have a very happy life.” Sam went on to say that rule #1 of his life philosophy is to be okay with what you ultimately can’t do, because there is so much you CAN do. His second rule is to surround yourself with people you want to be around.

How many of us have so much more, but exhibit a fraction of the gratitude and grace as this young man? I’ll raise my hand.

Sam left a legacy and like Robert Kraft said, just watching this video touches my heart and soul.

What can you be grateful for today?

How can you see what you can do, and all that is good?

God bless you Madison and Sam, I am grateful.

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