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Yesterday we celebrated Memorial Day.  A day that honors men and women in the armed services who sacrificed their lives, for service to country, to allow us to live freely.  People honor their lost loved ones with floral tributes at tombstones, concerts and in other formal and informal ways.  Yet many people still view Memorial Day simply as a day off and take for granted all that these brave and inspirational men and women have done to defend our country.

There are numerous things that we often take for granted and shouldn’t.  These too are inspirational often forgotten little nuggets of joy.  Below are three things we often don’t think about until these necessities and luxuries are no longer freely available.

1.  Our heartbeat.  We may not like the way our feet look, the size of our deltoids, or even the color of our hair, etc. yet how often do we stop and think that life is a gift and a blessing?  Our heartbeat is a steady, constant, electrical rhythm reflecting the number of times our heart beats per minute.  Our heartbeat means life and life means breath.  We take it for granted until the doctor says our heart is out of rhythm either beating too slowly or too rapidly.

2.  Water.  Here in the United States water is plentiful.  It is freely available for purchase in bottled form  in a variety of brands to suit our taste (e.g., mineral, spring, sparkling, distilled, etc.).  We even filter or purify water in our homes to add to our BPA-free bottles and containers to carry to the gym or when we are out running errands.  We use it to wash our produce, our bodies and our cars. The thought of brushing our teeth without clean water is such a foreign concept; however, in many parts of the world water is in crisis, a scarcity not freely available.  It is not plentiful.  It is not purified or filtered. Quite simply – it is not clean or drinkable.  They can’t walk to the corner store to grab a bottle or turn on the tap expecting clean clear water to flow freely.

3.  Time.  Tomorrow is not promised for anyone.  As human beings, we often put things off until tomorrow, next week, next month.  Or whenever.  Do whatever it is that you are dreaming of or have been putting off.  Say I love you to the people who matter today.  Play.  Dance in the rain.  Forgive.  Take the time while you have it.  Don’t wait until time is limited for then you may not be able to enjoy it.

Today give thanks there is breath in your body and that your heart beats strongly for you.  There are people who would love to have a normal heartbeat and not have to rely on a mechanical device like a pacemaker or other invasive treatments and/or surgery to control their abnormal heart rhythms.

Give thanks for water as you prepare your dinner, take a shower or wash your hair.  There are people who would love to use clean water on a daily basis to drink or wash their face and bodies.

Give thanks for the time you have with your family, on your job, in pursuing your education.  Use it wisely.  There are people who have plenty of time but cannot do with it what they want due to dementia or the long-term effects of a stroke or other medical condition that has robbed their physical body or their mental capacity.

Live with gratitude.

What things, or people, do you often take for granted?