When I was six years old, my grandmother passed away due to a serious asthma attack. When I think of six-year-old me, I think I was pretty smart. I really loved the movie Amadeus, for some reason, as a small example (what a weird kid). But I really didn’t understand this whole asthma thing. I was horrified that people could just suddenly stop breathing. I didn’t understand that it was a disease. So, for many months, I was scared that I was going to stop breathing. I’d go to sleep and wonder if people still breathe when they’re sleeping. How do we breathe when we talk? Was my family still breathing? It was truly horrifying.

When I got older, my allergies kept getting worse and worse to the point where now if I have one of my really bad attacks, it’s very close to an asthma attack. My chest closes up and breathing becomes painful. But I’ve never stopped breathing. I’ve not come close. How is it that my grandma had to go through that while I’ve gotten off easy? Why can I walk and run when my other grandmother suffered with MS for over half her life?

We all encounter situations, at one time or another, where someone we adore goes through something that seems so unfair. We love them so much that it seems ridiculous that anything bad should happen to them. But they get sick or they lose a loved one or their house gets broken into, and while we do our best to support them or remember them or do whatever we need to do, our lives keep going along. Why is that? Who determines these things? How can you deal with the feeling that you are not deserving of what you have, or that someone else deserves much more than what they are getting?

I think the key is to turn your thinking around. Instead of saying “Why me?” or “Why them,” perhaps we should say, “I now am reminded how very lucky I am.” You see, every day that something bad doesn’t happen to you or someone you love is really a special day worth celebrating. That is not gloating. That is realizing that nothing in life can be taken for granted.

Consider this. If the person you are lamenting came back, what would they say if they saw you closed off in a dark room on their behalf? I would imagine they’d be pretty disappointed in us. “Why are you WASTING your life,” they might well say. “My time came and went. Your time is still going. Live!”

Every day that I can breathe, walk, and run, I remember that my grandmothers lost those basic abilities. So when I take a deep breath, I think of my grandma and all of the great times we shared. When I walk or run, I imagine my grandma is traveling with me. I do not regret that I can do these things. I cherish them because I know what gifts they are.

Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/anantns/6916401745/ via Creative Commons