Recovery Connections

John Schwary is CEO of Transitional Living Communities, an 850-bed recovery program he founded in Mesa, Arizona January 9, 1992, when he had a year sober. He's in his 28th year of recovery.

In these posts, he views life mostly through the lenses of recovery. While the blog is factual, he often disguises events and people to protect anonymity.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Lesson in Gratitude

A friend going on a trip waited til the last minute to board the plane. Since it was going to be a long flight she thought it would be better to walk around and get a little exercise, rather than sit on the plane and watch the other passengers board. However, when she did board there were only three seats left. And all of these were in the middle of the row. She said the row she finally picked had a nerdy looking girl sitting in the aisle seat. And the other passenger was an overweight woman, in the window seat, who seemed quite quite uncomfortable.

"Oh well," she thought, "it's only going to be a couple of hours." And she sat between the pair, resigned to a boring, uneventful trip.

However, as the flight progressed she began talking to the younger woman in the aisle. She learned the woman sitting to her left, by the window, was the younger woman's mother. The daughter was traveling with the mother, who was terminally ill and had six months to live, because she wanted to spend time with her before her passing. As the conversation went on, my friend learned the woman had set aside her career and other responsibilities to be with her mother during her last days. My friend was moved to tears. They exchanged phone numbers, and the daughter invited her to come visit if she were ever in her area.

She told me she regretted her assumptions about the couple. Had she not picked their row she might have missed an example of love and sacrifice.

When my friend disembarked she realized God had provided her with a couple of lessons. The first was about not making assumptions. The other was about gratitude for the many blessings she has in her life.