13 Years of Thankfulness

It was a truly beautiful morning. A fresh and uncommon snowfall blanketed the city of Vancouver making this day special and memorable. Indeed, for someone who loves snow, this rare occurrence was just another sign of the transformation that was about to take place. 

After years of struggle to stay alive, a kidney transplant was the final juncture which would close this chapter and start anew. This ultimate gift of life, which I never expected to receive, let alone felt worthy of receiving, came from a stranger, a fellow human being and hero. No, not a hero as in the movies. I am talking about a real hero in real life!

Every year for the last 13 years I have struggled to find the right words to express my gratitude and awe. I am well aware that there are no good choices here. There is no way to say an adequate thank you to someone who saved your life without a word, demand or even public notability. It is beyond human comprehension to explain such an act, so I stopped. I no longer seek an explanation. 

There is only one way to be thankful and it is by being. Just being who I am and who I have always wanted to be. To take this second birth and turn it into a new life—one without excuses or regrets. But one with honesty, openness and human connection. One with laughs and tears. One with hard but meaningful work and calm but deepening rest. No, it is not going to be perfect or noble. After all, I am only human. 

This humanity, paired with a new chance to be, to act, to pursue, to love is a gift on its own. Today as I kiss my wife, hug my son and raise my camera to my eye, I pursue just that. Nothing more. Nothing less. It is without equal and the most honest thank you I can offer.  

18 thoughts on “13 Years of Thankfulness

  1. Wonderful words to read. I don’t know you yet as I just found your website today. You have already inspired me in just the few minutes that I have observed your moving work–and words. Bless you!

  2. Oh, and by the way, I am currently in Paris for a week… taking in the sights of this beautiful city… such a small world… so full of beautiful people!

  3. Living our life in gratitude for all the abundance we live in (material things, human connections, love of all kinds, the natural world that surrounds us…) attracts continually more of the same to us. Your thoughts, Olaf, are inspiring. I so wish to meet you next time I am in Vancouver to visit with my great friend, Madeleine. Your photography is a gift to us all.

  4. You may call your giver a hero I call them your angel.When someone comes out of nowhere and get you out of trouble that is an angel. I know because mine has saved me many time. I thank her every day for having my back for big things and even all the little things that happen.

  5. Thank you, Olaf, for sharing such private and meaningful thoughts with us. We are also the recipients of the donor’s generosity as it gives us the opportunity to learn and be inspired by all you share. Gifts certainly do come in all sorts of packages, right. Happy Holidays to you and your family.

    1. I always appreciate your support Patricia! Your note is so beautiful. You made my day! Wishing you a wonderful time and a Happy Holidays.

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