"It's the small things", she said, "that I'm thankful for. When I'm pruning or digging in my garden, I realize it's a gift."

Most people look at digging in the garden or pruning as a task. Catch them on a good day and they might tell you it's a nice break from the routine of the daily grind. But when you've been through something that nearly took your life, it is the small things that you're thankful for.

It was good to see my friend yesterday, it has been too long. I remember visiting her in the same trauma center I'd been taken to after my accident nearly seven years ago. The bleeding in her brain had caused so much immediate damage that it didn't look like she'd recover. But there she stood yesterday looking better than ever.

Before something traumatic happened to me, it' was as though bad things only happen to other people. During the recovery, as lucidity returned in whatever fashion it's going to, it still seemed like the person I'd become was somebody I'd heard a story about. It couldn't be me, of course, who was laying here with all these tubes hanging out of me. Now, too long after the pain to remember all of the details, it's clear that it was me all along. And on a good day, as I've said many times, I'm thankful for the little things.

So often, I've heard it said, that people of faith spend so much time worrying about life after death that they don't live life before death. It's a funny preoccupation when you stop and think about it. Those believers are not alone either. It's possible to worry so much about life as it is, that you don't experience life at all. I think it's true, in the small things you'll find what's worth being thankful for.

As I said goodbye after talking with her, my co-survivor said, "hey, keep writing in your blog. I read that even though you write infrequently". I do know I miss writing, and maybe I can get back to it more. It's a small thing really, to just write a little about the things one guy sees along the way. But the gift tends to give itself over and over, doesn't it. A small encouragement. "hey, keep writing..." The small thing I'm thankful for today is that my friend is still with us... and that I'm part of the "us" that is here to notice. And that's not a given. Hopefully those I love don't have to taste near death to experience wide-awake life on their way to that final day they press through that thin barrier between here and "there".