Big word. Well, let’s make sense of that word. In my world, a sense of emotion comes into play. It is also actions, feelings, it can involve friends, among many other things, and for me, involves my past.
GRATUITOUS: adj; being without reason, cause, or justification, or; given without receiving any return value.
I’ve had so many instances in my life, with regard to these definitions of “gratuitous”, that I’ve had to realize how my heart and soul gets into this picture. How does it happen that I say “thank you” to God every morning when my feet hit the ground, verses not acknowledging that I’m HERE! Big change, because I’ve been in that picture before. It’s amazing, that what I’ve noticed is when I speak to someone, I hear the word “I” so much; to me I don’t have any “I”, it’s always WE. Maybe before,(let’s say 20 years or so), I gave tribute to myself for working so hard for myself, that “I” deserve this/that, or whatever. I never realized that I was guided into a direction, a path, that gave me success, or “I hit my dream”. I attribute so much of where I am today to my family, their love, their support, and some of their direction. Oh, I should also mention my friends. What a gang of friends that I have! As we all know, no two people are the same, and don’t I know that!
This past weekend, one of my buddies from high school made a trip out here to L.A. We played sports together in high school, football mostly, but we both played baseball, and we both went to different high schools. When I was at that age of playing sports, basically you hung out with the guys that you played with, or against. So that is where I say, I was given the ability to play sports, which gave me the friends that I hung out with, with whom I still associate with today, some 45 years later! Did “I” pick them! No, I was given the chance to, given the activity that I did, playing sports. I call that, “connecting the dots”. If you look back at so many events in your life, and see the “dot”, and how it associated with the previous dot, and ties into the next dot, this all had to happen for you to be in the position that you are today.
My buddy from high school, Jim, has the vision of going to as many professional baseball stadiums as he can, (maybe even out of this country?). As it turned out, both the Angels, and the Dodgers stayed in town over the same weekend, so he called me a few months ago, and suggested that we should go to both stadiums, a Friday and a Saturday. Why not? I have a couple of other HUGE sports fans, and one wanted to be our designated driver,(good for us, who like beer!), so the four of us went, what a blast! Got to see two stadiums, compare them, and their parking, walking from parking to the stadiums, and general parking costs. Sorry Dodger fans, Angels win it hands down. Hope I don’t loose any friends here, saying that, (maybe like politics? Oooops…) Either way, both nights were highlights, and had LATE nights, (beyond my bedtime!). With everybody involved, how did I get involved with these guys? I was put in a position to choose who I trusted, and who befriended. I’m sure that I didn’t know about the “dots” then, but I surely know now how that belief works.
Do you question anything like that? Honest question, really. As I’ve said before, I know that we ALL have been in a situation in our lives that has been our deepest part our “weakness”. I was, as most of you know. Tumors, radiations, seizures, medications, etc. For some that don’t know some of the details about my “story”, I had plenty of people in my life, at that time, who aren’t in my life now, but I couldn’t have made it then, without them; that a “dot”. I was seeing a gal at that time, who basically saved my life; and brought me into an environment, that I would be spending all of the rest of my days, ( including today!), on a different path, UCLA. From neurologists, to surgeons, to nurses, to my activity within this wonderful institution, to having two people put up $52,500 on the spot to keep me in UCLA, and to me getting their money back… I don’t know how many dots are in that equation, but every dot had to be here, or…? I have a big belief in what God does for us, and He certainly exceeds “I”. I just follow.
That is why I say thank you every morning. I’m given another day. I thank Him for my dog, Peanuts. Funny story, here. Peanuts is a Jindo, a Korean dog, not to well known to a lot of people. He is about 50 lbs, and their history is to be very territorial for someone like me, (and they are!) My last dog was a Jindo, also. You know how the saying goes, it’s the dog that picks the owner. I still belief that, without a doubt. My last dog was a female, Lola, and when she passed a few years ago, I wanted another female. Aside from being beside myself without Lola, I called up a rescuer that I know, and asked them if they had any Jindo’s up for adaption, and they actually said yes, and they would be up at a pet store the upcoming weekend. Jindo’s usually come in two colors, white with tan ears, and red ones throughout their body. I saw “Peanuts”, an attractive white male, walked him, and said to myself, “well, he’s ok, but I want a female”. I saw a female, who looked like my Lola who just passed the day before, thought she was SO pretty, so I told the rescuer gals, that I wanted to wait on the female for about a week, for me to think about it. They said ok; but asked if I would foster Peanuts for that week, because the other foster people would be out of town for about a week, and I could bring him back to the pet store the following week. I said sure, I don’t have Lola, so I thought it would be good company. We had a good time that week, but you have to understand that Jindo’s really don’t bark, and their definitely not a snuggle dog, very alpha. That was how the week went, I had a quiet dog that went his own way, didn’t snuggle, and we got along well. I took him back the next week, put him in his cage, and he made a cry like I’ve never heard, especially at my house, cried a cry that sounded like he was getting tortured, to the point that I couldn’t leave him like that, so I took him out of the cage, told the rescue people that he was mine, at that moment, and went home. Like I said, it’s the dog who picks out their owner. I wanted a female that looked like my previous dog, but I took home a male of another color that wanted me. That another dot; he softened my blow to me when Lola died.
Look at your life, count your dots, and have a great feeling of gratuitous for how “we” got there, and give an unlimited thank to every morning that you have been given, and say hi to a friend, especially an old friend who picked you, too.