Make a choice to be grateful

There’s a difference between bad things happening and suffering.

While we can’t prevent bad things from happening, suffering is always a choice.

My grandfather was a survivor of World War II. He lost his parents and barely survived himself. He was the youngest of six children and one who lived the longest. In spite of everything he endured, he was always happy, who told me that “every day you wake up is a good day.”

Not matter how bad the storm gets, you have to find the good, you have to find the hope, you have to choose to be lucky.

After years of little food, and despair, he could have been lost in thoughts about how awful he has been treated during the war and felt depressed.

He could have been worrying and anxious about his future.

But instead, he found hope and happiness.

If he could do that, then all of us can.

Years later he got married, build a farm in Ukraine, at which my sister and I spend many summers.

And when he died in 2010 of prostate cancer, I cried and then I remembered what he told me: “I have to keep on living, feel hope and be grateful for your life. And to remember to live a life of purpose in service to others.”

And I miss him dearly, but I never forgot his words.

We can face pain and illness and still choose hope.

He taught me to choose.

So I refuse to choose suffering.

You can be grateful and overwhelmed with gratitude, no matter how flooded you are with pain or you can suffer even when the sun is shining.

It’s always a choice.

You can make the choices to be grateful in the moment for who you are and everything you have, even if the storm is raging outside.

I hope you do it.

I feel grateful.

I hope no matter where you are; whether it’s pouring rain or whether the sun is shining, I hope you feel grateful too.