Sherine Zaky Johnson

When my child was really sick, it took everything I had to handle my daily responsibilities. Practicing gratitude wasn’t even on my radar.  Sometimes I felt like I was mostly on autopilot.  At first, no one around me could tell what my family was struggling with unless we told them.  We handled it all ourselves.  Not sharing our struggles was a way to escape them from time to time.  Until one day, our lives imploded and we could no longer keep our beautiful child safe.  Sending them to a place that could help them with their struggles made sense logically, but my heart was broken.  

That’s when gratitude knocked on my door.   Before our child was ill, looking at the bright side of things came naturally to me. However, along the way, through the chaos, I lost my daily gratitude. One day I woke up and decided I could not continue being sad and anxious all day long.  There had to be a better way to live.  And that’s when I started writing a gratitude journal and practicing gratitude.

At first, I had to be intentional.  I would start my day searching for any little thing to be grateful for. Eventually, practicing gratitude filled my days; waking up with my health and strength, finding the right place that was giving my child the support they needed, going to my favorite Jazzercise class or my gentle yoga class,  the kindness of the barista at Starbucks, going to a support meeting at OPLM and being with my people, the thoughtfulness of my husband every morning when he makes my breakfast smoothie, or even just laughing at lunchtime with my co-workers. The list was endless.  I realized that because I was committed to practicing gratitude by listing three things every night, I spent all day looking for those three things.  And magically, my lens on how I saw the world changed over time, without realizing it. With this new lens, I could handle my life’s challenges with more calmness and clarity.