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It's the small things

While it may seem small, the ripple effects of small things is extraordinary -Matt Bevin

I had a great day last Wednesday afternoon when I took my son Andrew to Philadelphia for a medical appointment at the University of Pennsylvania. Andrew is my adult son who is 34 and was born with Cerebral Palsy and since he was about twelve years-old he has had a very debilitating tremor in his left arm and hand while his right arm and hand are completely paralyzed. He does pretty well with the disability, but he has grown frustrated over the years not to be able to do some pretty simple things which we need to help him with.

The appointment was to get some Botox injections in the muscles which tremor and if everything works out right, Andrew might have some relief from the tremors for the first time in over twenty years. He told me on the way to Philadelphia that he doesn't want to get his hopes too high but if he could just eat cereal on his own again or an ice cream cone or lift a glass of water by himself to drink, he will be a happy man indeed. Those are all examples of things he needs help with because the tremor makes it impossible and as he shared his hopes and goals, I realized how much those small abilities in life can make such a world of difference.

I'm very thankful to be able to look at the world through Andrew's eyes because it has made me so grateful for things I might otherwise take for granted like being able to eat an ice cream cone on my own, or to eat a spoonful of soup or cereal without flinging it across the table, or to drink with a cup in my hand instead of from a tabletop through a drinking straw. I love that Andrew never complains and he finds the joy in every day, and we always find things to laugh about. The highlight of our afternoon was enjoying a cheesesteak from Geno's in South Philadelphia which if you've never had one, you've never had an authentic cheesesteak - and we've learned from living in seven other states and a few countries that there are far too many imposters which claim to be "Philly Cheesesteaks."

The other thing that I really enjoyed about last Wednesday was being in the part of Philadelphia where Ben Franklin started the first hospital, and it made me think about all the philanthropic things he did and how studying him and people like him helped influence me in my pursuit of public service. I think it's a great thing to be able to help people and it's why I always tell Andrew I don't "have to" take him to his appointments, I "get to" and I really mean that. Time with Andrew makes me slow down and think about all the things in life that bring joy and make life better and how much we should appreciate simple things in life we do every day that we typically don't take the time to think about.

So I hope you can take a moment this week and focus on something you do which might be a small thing, but imagine what life might be like if you couldn't do that. If you get to see the sun rise or set, or you notice something in nature, imagine if you didn't have your vision as you do to see that, or if you hear some nice music or a bird in nature, imagine what life would be like if you couldn't hear. If you enjoy a good cup of coffee or a hot meal or something good to eat, imagine the people who struggle to find their next meal or what life might be like if you could never taste again. Being grateful for all these small things in life can really change our worldview and in the process of noticing those things, I think that contributes to making the world a better place, one small moment at a time.

Have a wonderful week!

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