Racing In Gratitude

In light of the recent loss of life, wildlife and homes due to the devastating fires in California, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to priorities versus luxuries, and how life’s journey can change overnight. Like many of my readers, I too have close friends who lost their homes in the recent Camp Fire that devastated Paradise, Calif. One friend lost her retirement home, which she purchased less than two years ago. For her, Paradise was in fact paradise, and she used to kid, “I moved here because I wanted to tell my friends I live in Paradise.” Unfortunately, now she’s homeless until she can deal with the insurance companies. What was once Nancy’s paradise has now her living hell.

Since she literally had to make a dash for her life and was only able to gather her dog, she lost everything she owned, including the wheelchair her dog needs. As trivial as my gesture was, she was overcome with emotion when I told her I had located a new one for her.

As I watched victims of the fire fleeing for their lives, I grieved seeing pets and wildlife lost and afraid, forced to fend for themselves. I found some comfort seeing courageous and compassionate men and women putting themselves in harm’s way to save some of these pets and farm animals. I saw several firefighters consoling a woman about to release her horse because she had no way to get it to safety. They found a racer with a loaded racecar trailer with just enough room in it for the horse, and they were able to get themselves and the horse to safety. I don’t mind telling you, witnessing this compassion still brings me to tears.

In light of all the devastation, and remorse, I find myself truly grateful for so many things in my life. Simply being able to sleep in my own warm bed somehow gives me a whole new sense of value. It’s this frame of mind that helps me understand and appreciate how grateful we are as a group that we have NASA and racing in our lives. Tragic events like this should make a person take time to reevaluate one’s own values, and possibly come up with a new perspective of what’s important.

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Next time you’re at the track, consider the wonderful time you’re enjoying with others, all of whom share your passion. Hear the sounds, not those of racecars but rather those of laughter, excitement and camaraderie, none of which those who lost their homes can appreciate at this time.

Gratitude gives life greater meaning. When you are truly grateful, you find yourself living with higher purpose and passion. Being grateful will give your life meaning because it allows you to capture fully the essence of every moment. It takes the burden out of life while adding a dimension of beauty, and it allows you to find contentment even in moments of crisis.

My takeaway is that being grateful is developing a mindset that nothing can compromise your contentment. Contentment will create the conditions that you desire to see in your life. Cultivating a lifestyle of gratitude will be the best decision you ever make, and learning how lucky we are to have NASA and racing in our lives is just part of being truly blessed. Bless all those needing our thoughts and prayers to recapture what they were once grateful for.