Merri and I purposely do not have television reception. Nor have we for at least ten years. On the rare occasion when we are exposed to current programming we know why.
Yet we have a TV and are fans of Netflix and the Learning Company. For five months or so a year, the flash of our Blue Ridge fireflies competes with the flicker of a DVD playing on our TV.
Last night we enjoyed, the Clint Eastwood directed film, “Flag of our Fathers”. I was stunned by the similarity between the main character and my father.
Both were on the first wave of the Iwo Jima invasion (my dad was a Seabee). Each saw both raisings of the US flag on Mount Serabachi. Both were wounded in the leg and sent back to the US. Each spent the last moments of their lives absorbed by thoughts of their buddies who 50 years early had not survived.
Fifty years is a long time to carry such a burden. Dad never said a lot and we never even knew he was haunted by this until he neared the end of his life. Then due to advancing age he could no longer remember the names of his departed comrades.
This bothered him…a lot. He dwelled on what they had missed, feeling almost guilty that he had enjoyed such a wonderful, full life when his fallen friends had never had a chance. He seemed to feel that his remembering had been a tribute to them and his forgetting some form of treason to these comrades in arms.
Yet there was one thing that this terrible ordeal brought. Every day when he arose, Dad was thankful for life, no matter what it threw at him. He had gained something that we non combat veterans have missed. He had faced likely death and had been surrounded by it. This gave him a life long gift of pure pleasure at nothing more than being alive.
This is worth a thought because economic, political and social fundamentals are brewing that could make life seem less than what is used to be. We could all face even more pressures and greater stress.
TV could even get worse (as impossible as this may seem).
Many could feel poorer.
Yet we should have gratitude…no matter what. We should not have to risk sudden death and be surrounded by the loss of many close friends just to be grateful for simple pleasures and this miracle of life.
This morning no matter what happens, I am going to add in my meditation a special vote of thanks for simply being alive. Then I plan to keep this gratitude attitude all day.
Until tomorrow, Merri and I hope that you find gratitude in all you see, hear, taste, smell and fell as well.