What Do You Take For Granted?

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Chances are that you probably take many things in your life for granted. For example, you probably take for granted that you will wake up to face another morning. You may take for granted that you have job security or financial security. You may take your good health for granted, or you may have resigned yourself to sub-optimal health while taking for granted that you will somehow overcome the inevitable consequence of poorly managed illness. You may take your relationship or marriage for granted, assuming that because you have a partner whom you love and who presumably loves you back, you will never be alone or have to struggle with being single again. You may take for granted that your home is completely safe from violence, thieves, or natural disasters.

Never, EVER take anything you have in your life for granted. Anything can be stripped away from you in a heartbeat. The saying, “hope for the best, but prepare for the worst” has some utility in reminding us to pay attention and take steps to ensure our comfort, our safety, our health, our sanity. Nothing we have is permanent. It’s all on loan until we move on from this physical realm.

I know this sounds depressing, but it isn’t meant to be. It is simply a reminder to pay attention to what you are blessed with, to appreciate it, and to realize that just because you enjoy it and it has given you comfort or joy, doesn’t mean that it will last. Don’t count on it. Live every day as if it was your last.

After Bad Comes Good

I have heard my mother and my aunts and uncles share stories about my grandmother, whom they all adored. They have all spoken of her unflagging kindness and compassion, and of her wisdom. One thing she was prone to saying frequently in Japanese was, “Don’t worry, after bad comes good.” For those of you who are curious about this quote in Japanese, here it is: “Shinpai shinai de. Subete umaku iku ne.” This statement can also be translated to English as, “Don’t worry, everything will be all right.”, but everyone in the family insists on “Don’t worry, after bad comes good.” as the unwavering message my grandmother was known for. She truly felt that good things ALWAYS followed bad things.
Buddha Kumamoto
I find this quote from my frail, tiny (4’8″) Japanese grandmother, who incidentally bore FIFTEEN children and lived through countless hardships and poverty before dying of cancer at the age of 63, to be incredibly wise and reassuring. Whenever someone in the family was concerned about a troubling event, my grandmother would utter this statement and smile.

It seems to me that my grandmother’s sense of calm and joy about the world and her ability to enjoy the simplest things despite living without many creature comforts made her more aware than most, and thus more spiritually enlightened. It is probably part of the reason why her journey on this planet did not last very long. Sadly, she passed away before I was born, so I never had a chance to meet this remarkable woman. My mother tells me that I have my grandmother’s eyes, and I can see that when I look at photos of her. Though she was full-blooded Japanese, she had large, round eyes with the telltale Asian skinfold called the epicanthic fold which I also have.

I try to remember that with every challenging or stressful situation, that it too will pass.