Sunday, January 23, 2011

Who Taught You?

I want to share with you one of my favorite spots on the internet:  It has a place where you can sign up for a quote of the day that is focused on gratitude and it is the first thing I read on the web every day.  It always gets me to the right place in my head as I begin my day.

On the first of the year, I noticed that an e-course was being offered focusing on the writings of Brother David Steindl-Rast (the co-founder of and it seemed like a sign -- a new year, a new class and a focus on gratitude.  I'm all over it. And so I began a 40 day journey...

Day 9 asked the question: Who has been your gratefulness mentor?  It got me thinking and it is in large part what got this blog started.  Here is my answer:

"My most important mentor in living a grateful life is my 11 year old son, Patrick, who has Down Syndrome. I began keeping a grateful journal for Lent about 7 years ago while he was in the midst of fighting for his life against leukemia. At the time, I was angry and bitter and not very grateful at all. Patrick, on the other hand, greeted each of his doctors or nurses or any stranger he met in the hospital with the reverence and blessing they each deserved. There was a point when he was receiving a heavy dose of a particularly nasty drug and he couldn't walk and he had to go in for 8 days straight to receive the dose. I literally felt like I was allowing him to be poisoned and I felt tortured each and every time I carried him in to the hospital. On the next to the last day, I was crying silent tears as I was walking through the hospital doors and Patrick was so very weak from the effects I was heartbroken. In this moment an elderly man comes toward us through the doors and Patrick lifts his head off my shoulders and waves to him with a tired smile.

It was one of those moments that just crystallizes everything. Patrick had the ability and the spirit to acknowledge the blessing of paths crossing, no matter how weakened he was. He was my guide and my hero through my darkest days.

Today, Patrick is healthy and living a life filled with gratitude. Whenever anyone comes in, he acknowledges them, his level of compassion for others, his example of seeing the beautiful in the ordinary and his ability to be enthusiastic and effervescent daily guide me through just as he did long ago.

I am grateful beyond measure that he has graced my life and know that he has been my dearest and most important teacher in almost all parts of living but especially in living with a grateful heart."

And my question to you?  Who has been your mentor?  Who has helped you notice the "grace in the ordinary"?  Better yet, have you been someone's mentor or guide?  If so, whom?


  1. Oh, Beth! I could write a whole month of posts--or even a book of people/mentors who inspire me--including one all about you! Megan, Michele, YOU, Dr. Gee, my Mom, my Dad, my mom friend, Wendy...the list is plentiful...They all seem to have different ways in helping me to notice "grace in the ordinary." And I am ever so grateful for each of them. Thanks for sharing this story with the world. I hope someday you will share Patrick's birth story too--for I was captivated while you told it to me before...

    My heart ached as you described how you cried "silent tears." I cannot even imagine. Oh, Beth, you are one brave mentor & grace-filled friend, who I am so lucky to know.

    My heart is also grateful after reading this post. Thanks!

  2. Many people have shown me grace in the ordinary. You, of course, have shown me how to see the best in people, how to appreciate beauty all around you, and how to marvel at wonders of nature. My children show me grace every day in all the little things they do, the beautiful way they love, and their amazing minds.

  3. Love this post. So touching... Many people are my mentors, but my children, especially John Michael, show it to me best. I also hope that by example, we are helping others.