The Man In The Chair: Thank you for making me more thankful.

Thinking out loud: One of my biggest revelations lately is how ungrateful I’ve been this summer. Even if it was unintentional, I had a tendency to look at most of the events occurring in my personal life from a “glass half empty” perspective.

Two things happened to alter this point of view. 1.Yoga. I used to focus on how much I hated all the twisting and turning and couldn’t wait to get out of each, fighting with my thoughts for most of the 75 minutes. Soon, I found that if I just focused on my inhales and exhales, that in itself was all I needed to do.

What a beautiful thing, to know that I could breathe through anything that has happened to me-anything that WILL happen to me. What a wonderful feeling, to be able to feel something so intensely that it brings you to collapse on a stump in the woods.

In with light and new beginnings, out with which has already gone.

I love the smell of new beginnings. It gives me hope that I can overcome anything that happens to me, anything I do.

I was on a run about two months ago and noticed a gentleman in a wheelchair on the dirt path I was so begrudgingly jogging on at a turtle’s pace. He seemed to have full use of his upper body, and his chair was unlike any other wheelchair I had seen, kind of like a contraption with cushions and a mini desk to place his arms on. What struck me was that he was alone, facing the sun, reading a book on this path and smiled at me.

I can’t really explain why, maybe it’s just because I’m a girl with a whole buncha feelings but after I passed him, turned a corner on the dirt path trail, I found a secluded spot in a wooded clearing, found a dried tree stump, planted my ass down and began to cry.

Thankfully it wasn’t one of my loud, inaudible ugly girl cries, but instead, a silent, tears and sweat dripping down my face kind of deal. The kind of tears that you can’t really define but stream down your face anyway. It was so odd to me that I suddenly broke down in the middle of the woods like that, I thought I was fine and running through my stuff a few minutes before. I even said to myself, music still playing on my iPod, “am I seriously crying right now?”

The best mental image I can paint here is the sight of morning light breaking through trees on an early, sunny morning. This is one of my favorite things to see, in fact. I like the way the reflections of shadows and the sunlight escapes through the cracks of the horizon. I like to watch the dust and leaves in the air dance on my hands when I hold them out into the light. This was how I felt in that moment… like the light was breaking through all of the dark, ugly pieces of myself.

In that moment, it was just me and the trees. How very comforting it was, to sit there at let it be. That’s one thing I have to throw out there- when something bad happens, you just need to freaking cry about it, let it out, throw something. Let yourself feel, let it pass through you, and to let. it. go.

Maybe everything that was subconsciously bothering me just kind of imploded in me at that moment, maybe I was just being sad and maybe I thought myself as odd because I didn’t even know the guy in the wheelchair and he didn’t know me, and yet there I sat, sobbing for him.

He looked so happy, so thankful to simply be sitting in the sun even though he is probably bound to be sitting in that chair for as long as he lives, while I, who was trying to get back into shape, restlessly criticizing my thighs for jiggling so much, was not truly happy.

The point was not that I was happy, we all get into hard places from time to time. The point was that I had been so ungrateful for all the little things. That I have a bed to crawl into at night… I have warm clothes to change into when I’m cold…that my family is healthy.. that I was healthy.

What a miracle it is, even to be alive.

I have two arms, that let me embrace the people that I love. Two eyes that let me see every inch of the world around me. Two ears that allow me to listen to sounds, music, words. A nose with a tiny bump in the bridge that I have grown to like over the years, that I use to smell that first cup of coffee with in the morning or when I come home from work after taking two buses from downtown to my house and Mum already has dinner cooking. I have two legs, that carry me wherever I need or want to go.

It doesn’t matter that I have an appealing body and face that considerably lines up with what society calls “pretty”. What matters is that I have one, a healthy one with full range of motion that I can use however I so choose.

I am grateful I am thankful for the little things, even temporary, even small. They somehow make all the other stuff seem okay again.

I am grateful for that man in the chair for smiling at me. I do hope I come across him again so I can tell him so.






Launched in 2014 as a community for creative thinkers, bloggers, and those with eyes and an open heart, this CaraFranMin is a quickly growing collective of go-getters from around Pittsburgh. My hopes for this account is to promote a more honest, and raw type of writing among young people. To speak up about the things that aren't always easy to talk about, and to get real with others. I've always loved telling, sharing, and writing stories. The way I see it--This is what life is all about- human connection and how our passion molds us into the people we become. I am fascinated by what makes people tick, those who go the distance and follow their true calling. Any chance to get to know others better, make them feel inspired or turn their day around, I'm in. Some noteworthy things about me include: There is a constant stream of song lyrics going through my mind at all times. I'm an avid people watcher. An overly friendly introvert. Die hard Coffee lover and expert "I KNOW THIS SONG" -er. And I am obsessed with my Golden Retriever, Theodore. Catch me at Carnegie Coffee Company on the weekends, or somewhere floating on my paddleboard around the Burgh.

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