gratitude for ‘This (Asian-)American Life’

I usually work on the weekends at my retail/gift wrapping job, so I catch a glimpse of several of my favorite shows on public radio on the way or after work. It makes me excited to get in the car to listen to the end of  ‘Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me’ just before I have to go into the store, or when my shift ends at a certain time, it’s a nice treat to have “Car Talk” on the radio as I drive home. I confess that I have a 6-CD set of “Prairie Home Companion” for when it used to take 5 hours to get to my hometown. Sometimes, I sit in my car for an extra few minutes just to hear the buttermilk biscuits jingle or another news from Lake Woebegone.

One of the weekend shows that I am sometimes fortunate to catch on the way from work is “This American Life” with Ira Glass. It’s like a listen-only documentary (Apparently, they now have a TV version on Showtime, but I’ve never seen it). The stories have an uncanny way of capturing the essence of everyday America, and often times opening my eyes to think about issues in a way I never have before. So, when I heard that they were doing this one-night “live” show at the movie theater, I asked two of my college friends, who also happen to be married to each other, if they, one, knew of “This American Life,” and two, whether they had any interest in going to see this show. They instead made it an occasion to celebrate my birthday and took me out to dinner before the show as well.

It was a really wonderful night with friends, food, a radio show on film, and even a pint of gelato during the show. (Btw, they are showing this again in the theaters sometime in May and also on radio.)  As “This American Life” always does for me, it made me rethink and re-evaluate. Maybe it’s that deadpan yet charming voice of Ira Glass, but the show ultimately always make me appreciate parts of my own American life.

And that’s what happened. Tonight, what I found was gratitude for these friends.

It’s not that I didn’t have gratitude for my friendships with them before. But I think I have not properly honored that gift of friendship. I don’t even think I deserve to have their friendship with the way I’ve treated it in the course of nearly ten years I’ve known each of them. In fact, I’m surprised they are still willing to be in contact with me. However, they are the few that stuck it out with me with my ups, downs, and down-right shut-outs, and have always been there for me.

I re-learned just how important friendships are. I think one of the crucial parts of post-ECT care is the TLC around you. They have lifted me up and reminded me that good things about life don’t just exist in what’s within you; good things often come from those who surround you.

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