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Things We Take for Granted

Things We Take for Granted

Even those suffering from multiple sclerosis fall into the trap of taking things for granted.


This morning I sat outside for half an hour. What a joy! Sitting outside was a particular treat for me, since as someone who is quadriplegic and hence not able to move, I don't have the chance of getting out very much. Being an outdoors person, though, this was especially hard on me.

Just seeing people driving up and down the street made me think how very much we take for granted. My fellow multiple sclerosis sufferers know this all too well. We're about the last people who need to be reminded about not taking things for granted. We've watched helplessly as we have lost one of our physical abilities after another.

How many times have we said, "I used to be able to do that?" referring to something that me used to do without a second thought. Whether or not we can put the past behind us determines if we have an eye on the future or the past -- that is, whether we're ready to face tomorrow. Thinking about the future teaches us to be ready to adapt to changes that come our way. Every MS sufferer can testify that adapting to changes in our condition is a constant in our lives.

Then there are those things that even MS sufferers take for granted, starting from the most basic thing. Don't we take it for granted that the sun will come up tomorrow morning? Have you ever stopped to wonder why? Once you've thought about it, have you ever considered giving thanks for that?

Don't we all assume that we'll wake up tomorrow morning? Just ask anyone in a hospital or nursing home about waking up tomorrow. Isn't assuming we will wake up tomorrow a little presumptuous of us? After all, who are we to warrant such a gift? A little humility is in order.


Years ago my rabbi said that we should be saying 100 blessings a day. Ridiculous, I thought. Today I ask, is that all?


Similarly, for several years, whenever I heard of a car accident (I commuted 45 miles to my college job in upstate New York, through many winter snowstorms, for some 20 years) or a 'random' shooting, I wondered, 'Why them and not me? What did I do to deserve being spared?'

Several years ago, my rabbi said that we should be saying 100 blessings a day. At the time, I thought he was crazy. Sure, I said a blessing before eating or drinking, but 100 a day? That's ridiculous.

Today, I ask, is that all? That doesn't even begin to cover it! If we thought about it for even a second, we would realize there are thousands if not millions of things we should be thankful for. From everything from our bodily functions to our personal circumstances (family, job, etc.) and the country we live in , I realize there are more things to be grateful for than we could ever count.


May 16, 2009

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Visitor Comments: 15

(15) Anonymous, January 7, 2010 10:06 PM

An Inspiration

Prof. Baron, I remember the first class I took with you. You challenged us to think, see point/counter point and argue our views based upon case law not emotion. I watched as you lost your mobility in the two years I knew you and hoped you would never lose your spark. Thank you for being a guide in my life as I now face what my birth defects bring me. I'll never forget those darn index cards and your wit!

(14) Lauren, May 21, 2009 11:17 AM

gratitude paramount

I have had MS for 29 years. It has taken more from me than I can begin to express. But through it all I have gained so much - I have been given the honour of knowing my life is a life of Tikkun. Make no mistake: MS is cruel and frightening. No soft soaping it. It takes a tremendous amount of energy, can affect the way you think and feel. There is no easy answer. If you have ms you know what I mean. And I send you love.

(13) SusanE, May 21, 2009 10:11 AM

The Things We Take for Granted

. .Prof.Baron, The obstacles and difficulties you live with daily are more than most of us can imagine. The lessons you teach about life through these words give us great hope. Thank you and Aish for printing your words, and Thank you for letting us see this part of your life. ----- I hope you go outside everyday, of every week of every month. - Susan

(12) Anonymous, May 20, 2009 12:13 PM

Thank you very much, I gained a lot from this article.

(11) Anonymous, May 20, 2009 7:48 AM

thank you

thank you for writing this piece and to Aish for publishing it. May Hashem bless you with strength, with life, and with renewal and may you always have the ability (gained through goodness and blessings and not through suffering G-d forbid) to view life through the lens which you have presented in this article,

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