Gloria Ferris

one woman’s view from a place by the zoo in the city

Count your Blessings One by One

with 3 comments


When Monica Robbins interviewed Tim and me a few weeks ago I mentioned that when I spoke at the October Stroke Conference I did three things related my experience,  and shared seven things I learned.  She immediately asked what were they? I of course drew a blank and could only relate five.  I have since found my notes and intend to relate them here over the next few days.

The first thing I learned was to Count My Blessings. Actually, I had learned that years ago when I was a small child, but over the years I had remembered to do it much less frequently. While I was in ICU the nurses would turn on the television for background noise. I don’t know if I listened to the dialogue from “White Christmas”or if I simply dreamed portions of one of my favorite Holiday Classics.

In any case, it reminded me of my father who taught me to “count my blessings”.  When I was much younger I was a “worrywart”.  I worried that my cousin who was in the Navy would get lost in the jungles of Panama, that my teacher would call on me and I wouldn’t know the answer soon enough, that my Dad would go to work one day and not come home again just like my Grandpa, that my mother would get very, very sick. The list was a mile long, and I would stare in the darkness long after the house was quiet with my spinning, worrying mind.

It was shortly after my seventh birthday when my dad walked me into a starlit pasture and told me that I needed to learn to count my blessings instead of chronicle my worries.  That night he showed me how to count on the people who loved me, to count on myself, to count on my strengths, to count on the thousands of stars in the sky. That night I fell asleep confident my blessings outweighed my worries. 

Fifty years later lying in a hospital bed with arms hooked up to too many IVs to count, with a machine to help me breathe,  it would have been easy to have a head spinning full of worries. What if I never walked again, what if I couldn’t use my left hand for eating and writing, what if this and what if that.  I could have spent my hours endlessly worrying, but instead I decided to count my blessings.  It worked. It helped me stay positive on the hardest of days and saw me through long, dark nights.

So just as Bing Crosby sang Irving Berlin’s words to Rosemary Clooney in the movie “White Christmas” so many years ago, I would tell you this Christmas ”when you are worried and cannot sleep try counting your blessings instead of sheep”. It worked for me.

Written by Gloria Ferris

December 18th, 2009 at 4:16 pm

3 Responses to 'Count your Blessings One by One'

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  1. Gloria,

    So glad to see that you are writing. And quite well, I would like to add.

    You are a strong lady!

    Happy Holidays to you and your wise-cracking husband.

    Joel, Jeannine, and Grace

    Joel Libava

    18 Dec 09 at 5:39 PM

  2. Beautiful Gloria !!!

    Lynn Lemley

    19 Dec 09 at 3:41 PM

  3. We ought to have the 7 listed someplace, as in a post about the speech, someplace we can link over to.

    Tim Ferris

    21 Dec 09 at 5:58 PM

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