“For the past 2 weeks you have been reading about a bad break I got. Yet today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of this earth.”
That’s how his speech started.
On July 4th, 1939 the great Lou Gehrig started his speech with those lines a few weeks after he found he was diagnosed with a rare condition called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Less than two years later, Lou passed away from this disease, which would later be known as, Lou Gehrig’s disease.
In spite of the bad news, he said as I quoted before, “Yet today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of this earth.”
My Aunt Donna; a kind, loving, and caring mother, wife and woman, was diagnosed with cancer 2 years ago. It was a long, hard battle she fought. She did it with grace, strength, and peace through out those two years, showing love and appreciation for her family every step of the way.
During her last few weeks, she was getting hospice treatment. She would be in pain, and not her self. She could barely talk due to her pain, and the treatment for her pain.
Yet, the last time I saw her…
The last time I saw her, she was lying down on her bed, peaceful. She was awake. She saw me. She made eye contact with me. She said: “I’m so lucky. I’m so lucky.” And I said, “You are. Your family is here for you. Your family is great.” She responded, “The best. The best.” There was no more talking, just eye contact. She couldn’t say much more. But she said it all right there. She said what mattered.
In spite of her difficult and uncomfortable situation, she told me she was lucky.
Just like Lou Gehrig did 75 years ago, today on the 4th of July.
Wilko Johnson is another example.
The English musician, and actor was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer in early 2013, and was given 6-10 months to live by doctors.
Yet, in an interview after his diagnosis, Wilko Johnson said he felt, “vivid aliveness.”
It was quite the paradoxical response to such devastating news. He stated, all of his petty problems were no longer problems. Problems didn’t mean anything significant to him now. It was ultimate perspective.
He became intensely present. He was intensely grateful to be alive in this moment. Having the doctors tell him doesn’t have a future, gave him no choice. There was no future to think about, or to worry about. This gave him a sense of gratitude for being alive, during his toughest hours.
Lou Gehrig continued with in his speech, expressing his gratitude and love for all the people in his life today; his coaches, and teammates, his friends, family, parents, and his wife. He did this during his toughest hours. He finished his speech saying, “he’s got a lot to live for.”
My Aunt Donna expressed her gratitude and love for her family during her toughest hours. For her 2 daughters, and husband. She told me during her toughest hours, that she was “lucky.”
I restate: They all expressed these loving, empowering feelings, in the most difficult of circumstances.
Yet, they were grateful,
Yet, they expressed love,
Yet, they were lucky.
Think about that. Really think about that. Do we do that enough in our everyday lives?
No matter where you are in life, please take this to heart. We may have everything we want, or need in life. Regardless, some of us are unaware of the joy to be alive today. We are unaware of the opportunity to be truly grateful for today, and for the people in our lives.
Most of us certainly don’t consider ourselves lucky.
So why did my Aunt Donna, Lou Gehrig, and Wilko Johnson have this sense of gratitude, love, and luckiness and some of us do not?
As the spiritual teacher, Eckhart Tolle puts it, most of us, have the “luxury of the rest of our lives.” We have the “luxury of the thought of our future.” Sometimes we are lax in our lives, presently, because we “can get to it later.”
This is a prominent reminder to all, including myself: Don’t wait for the “rest of our lives.” We can feel “lucky” now. We can express love and gratitude, now. We can do this while we are in any situation.
Whether healthy or sick, we can do this. Whether in a sound state of mind, or going through and emotional rough patch, we can do this.
It’s important to be aware of this perspective, because you will find peace while you are going through illness, or that rut.
You will feel “lucky.”
It’s important to be aware of this perspective, because you will stay humble, and grateful, while you are healthy, or in a good frame of mind.
You will feel “lucky.”
Through good times or bad, you will feel “lucky.”
Remember my Aunt Donna, remember Lou Gehrig, remember Wilko Johnson the next time you don’t feel “lucky.”
Remember the word: yet.
What’s your yet?
How do you define the yet in your life?