Count Your Blessings, Stupid

This really is not so much about jiu jitsu but in relation to Memorial Day: for anyone who may not be aware, it’s a day to reflect on those who served in the military and have passed on, typically while serving. My post is not quite about those who passed while serving in the military- several of my step and biological grandfathers served in WWII. One of them was a Merchant Marine: the story goes that he wanted to see the world and so he became a radio operator for ships.

During his time with the Merchant Marines they went on a number of dangerous missions, including two trips on the Murmansk Run- it was an Artic convoy where according to one article, at one point there was roughly a 30% chance you were going to make it out alive.

During one of their trips (I’m not sure if it was one of the Murmansk Runs, but there’s a good chance it was), the ship he was on blew up- I believe from a torpedo from a German U boat. He tread water for some time before being picked up by another ship. I remember him talking about how he occasionally had dreams about being in the water and seeing that large ship looming in front of him.

After the war and much, much later in life he was diagnosed with dementia. I would visit him from time to time with my father, to chat and spend time with him. Funny enough (I don’t think he knew about this blog) I came to visit him one day when he was starting to lose some of his ability to speak, but after greeting him, he turned and jokingly asked my dad “Who’s the broad?”

Oh, just that classy broad, Grandpop.

Anyway, I don’t recall exactly why but I was in his bathroom for some reason, and the medicine cabinet door was open. On the inside there was a computer print out of an illustration depicting a boat in the water at some dark hour, the middle of the ship obviously being hit and in the midst of an explosion. There were letters written in sharpie at the bottom of the page:

“COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS, STUPID!!” 

He passed away three years ago today, but I still remember that piece of paper stuck in that medicine cabinet door and probably will for a very long time.

I think it’s a reminder we all need once in a while. We get tied up in all the little things, get stuck in the weeds, don’t see the forest for the trees, whatever you would like to call it. We get mad because a training session didn’t go the way we wanted, we lost a match at a tournament, that number on the scale didn’t go down as quickly as we wanted or the number on the weights we have been using hasn’t gone up as quickly as we were hoping.

Sometimes we need someone to tap us on the shoulder and remind us to count our blessings, stupid.

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