How Grateful Are You?
Last week, I had one of the most touching experiences since we moved to Portland. Many friends helped me organize a fantastic event to increase the awareness of #lupus and the #lupuswalk in Portland.
It all happened very fast. A quick conversation over a cup of coffee, and suddenly an army of warm hearts, stepped up to make a difference in thousands of lives they don’t even know.
What is lupus?
As I was talking to “A”, my friend who kick-started this venture, one of her initial questions was – “what is lupus, and how does it affect you? You always look great!”
“A” and I have been friends for a couple of years. She briefly knew about my flares, and the professional hurdles I have been through for the past few months. She has a heart of gold. She is smart, connected, and attuned to everything that is going on. But we had never ‘really’ talked about lupus because I didn’t want to.
The Largest Asset
For many people, wealth, power, and beauty are their primary goals. Living in Silicon Valley showed me the power of money. With several booming startups, there is a lot of attention to what you have and who you know – the latest device, the coolest car, and the neighborhood you live in.
This is part of living in a material world. We tend to show off what we want people to see, rather than who we are, and what we go through. Nevertheless, the newest car, purse, and shoes will be old in about one year, maybe less. That is the power of time. All the ‘stuff,’ including our bodies, get old.
While I am not advocating to start sharing all our daily challenges with strangers, I believe we should open up with those who care and are invested in our wellbeing.
New Me, New Life
Living with a chronic disease made my view of life change forever. For the better, I guess. Achieving what has been viewed as success was not enough to keep my health in place. Working long hours affected my ability to invest in friendships, health, and exercise. I paid a high price for my professional dreams.
I guess we all get a wakeup call at some point in life. It can be a disappointment, a broken marriage, a significant loss, such as a beloved one, or our health – mental and physical.
And that’s when our greatest asset and opportunity pop up.
In my dictionary, my hugest asset comprises of my family and friends who are present, hold my hand, and help me move forward when life shuts a door on my face. And that is what happened last week.
People whose names I did not know, offered to help, from planning to executing the event. They came from different parts of Portland, and Washington state. An army of holy hands, helping up with the venue organization, preparing food to sell during intermission, and spreading the word out and cleaning up after.
The experience turned out great. The 100-year-old chapel where the performance took place was beautiful, the music played was full of melody and romance, and everyone was happy.
I heard from many people how they were leaving the event, knowing what lupus is and wanting to do more. These attendees will be seeds of compassion, sharing the importance of community support for lupus, and are likely to come to future events in support of patients and awareness.
These dozens of friends are living proof of the impact a little act of love can have in other’s lives. Each one of us can step up and make a difference. It’s on us, our choice.
It is a fact: sixteen thousand people are diagnosed every year in the United States. Five million worldwide. Ninety percent are women between 15-44 years old. Daughters, wives, and mothers that can have their dreams torn apart, and families that don’t understand what it is happening don’t know how to help.
Lupus is a life-changing condition for many – directly and indirectly. But together, we can all help change this story.
I invite you to hug a friend and family member today, show them how much you care and appreciate them. Gratitude is the first step to happiness. The time is now, and it is worth it. So, why wait?