Friday, August 18, 2017

Gratitude and Blessings

Following the death of Sandy Claws Dragon, I reached out to our cat sitter and hopped in the car to go to Canada. That's the short story. The longer version is that Ashley and Don were already planning to go to Canada -- Ashley to stay with her friend Lauren at her farm in Ontario, and Don to stay with his friend Chris in Quebec. I planned to stay home, be productive, and take care of Sandy.

With passport in hand, I went with them, only to return home the next day. Again, the short version since the long version would just confuse this already confusing post.

In my brief time in Canada I had two long conversations with people I didn't know. The first was Lauren's father (a farmer), the other the husband of the owner of a cafe where we ate lunch. Both small business owners. Both white males, one almost 50 the other in his 50s (as a guess). Both told me how blessed they feel. 

That's the word they used: blessed.

As they said that, in both cases I wished they paused long enough to let that feeling bounce around my brain like a ping pong ball. Neither life is easy. The farmer talked about just how wet it has been and how that has affected his crops. The husband of the cafe owner said they only opened the cafe 9 weeks ago in that sleepy town -- they seemed to already be doing a good business, and I wrote them a Trip Adviser review hoping they get more business.

They named their restaurant Gratitude in honor of the
blessings they feel they have received from God.

The conversations continued with talking about how they were not blessed financially, but still felt God blessed their lives.

On the long car ride home I had a couple of thoughts. One was how rare it is to have a similar conversation closer to home. I remember an older black man recently telling me he felt blessed, even as he recovered from knee surgery and could hardly walk, and felt he had a lot of weight still to lose in order to feel healthy again. That made me realize how blessed I feel to be able to get out and run/walk/crawl half marathons.

The other thought was how would my life be if I acted, believed, and professed to complete strangers, friends, and family how blessed I feel. 

Lately I'm not feeling blessed. I'm drained by Sandy's death, by cleaning out my in-law's house, by dealing with Don's side of the family, by the humidity, with freelance clients who drag their feet on replying to me but then want an immediate response, by playing taxi service for the teen, by life in general. 

Instead of focusing on all that, though, what if I focused on my blessings. In my most recent post I wrote about beating last year's 15K time by 13 minutes. I have a 200+ day streak of walking at least 10,000 steps a day. My latest A1C was 6.1, without going on medicine (it was 8 a couple of years ago). I am blessed I am healthy and active.

I am blessed I am able to travel. I could escape to Canada for a couple of days and the world did not stop. Next month I plan to go to Paris. I'd love to do more traveling, but need to focus on what I can do and that I can dream about future places to visit.

I am blessed with family and friends who care for me, and who support and encourage me. Rather than focusing on the family members who are not being helpful, I should focus on my mom who took a bunch of my in-law's treasures to a local museum rather than putting them in a dumpster, and on the friends who have helped me by giving me boxes, and filling them, and helping me find people who would truly appreciate my in-laws' vast collections. 

If I sat down and thought about it, I'm sure I could create a much longer list, as could you if you wrote your list of blessings.  More important for me than creating a list, though, is creating a mindset where I feel blessed from the bottom of my toes to the top of my head and that I tell everyone from those I know to complete strangers that I feel blessed. Pray for me as I continue to work on that goal.

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