A thankful heart

A Thankful Heart

I truly believe that feeling thankful and leaving it unexpressed is like getting a gift and putting it in a closet without opening it!  I could never do that and hope I never do.

First I want to say a huge thanks to all of the wonderful people I have met “virtually” over the years, including all of the readers of the articles on RheumatoidArthritis.net and their Facebook page.  It has been a great source of joy and gratitude to share my story with you and to hear your stories in response.  I also love reading all of the articles on the sites I frequent, as they give me courage, strength, support and wonderful advice!  We are so fortunate to have so many outlets for our curiosity and research into RA.  I am very thankful for all of the wonders that our digital world offers us.  Despite the fact we are not able to physically be with one another, I believe we all can “see” one another through our common challenges and strategies in dealing with RA.  That is one of the wonders I cherish.

I am very grateful to the various “teams” of people who support me – medically, emotionally and socially.  My work team who always know just what I need and instinctively know just when I need it; my amazing medical team of physicians, massage therapist, physical therapists, nurses, their respective staff members, etc. who collectively guide me through this journey; Our wonderful RA Support Group, each one of whom provides the hugs, love, advice and emotional support we all have come to depend on.

I know many of you have amazing families and friends who support you as I do.  I cannot begin to express my love and thanks to each and every one of them who over the years have individually and collectively kept me sane and able to deal with RA, especially those times when giving up seemed like the best answer.  They knew it was not, and their support and love through both words and actions are the reason I continue to fight the good fight every day and have for 20+ years.

I want to encourage all of you to express your gratitude.  Thanks left unsaid or unexpressed in word or deed is not only sad for those who would receive it but for each of us as well. Hug every chance you get.  Hugs are the physical manifestation of love and gratitude and studies show they boost our immunity and reduce stress so how wonderful is that?  Hugs are pure and organic, low fat and naturally sweet and 100% free!  They need not be vigorous if that is hurtful or difficult because of our RA, but even a gentle touch is appreciated and give the gift of joy.

The fact is we live in a world and move at a pace that often means we skip these simple acts that will define who we are.  RA takes so much from us and leaves us often feeling less than thankful for sure.  That means we have to personally challenge ourselves to appreciate what we have because we cannot allow RA to define or defeat us.  I never have and pledge to you I never will.  Will you take the challenge?

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