I find I’m stymied when it comes to writing about gratitude.
WHAT am I grateful for?
It’s not that I cannot find a single thing...it’s that I am overwhelmed by subject matter.
Do I give thanks for my husband? He’s a pretty good guy and I like him a lot.
I've got some great kids...
...there are some really cute little guys in my life..
Those are the big things.
What about all the other stuff?
How ‘bout that tree outside the kitchen window? I love looking at that. Not only is it exquisite this year, I haven’t told you the story behind it...
Maybe it’s the fact that I can post this...there was a time when we didn’t even have internet service...
And, then it hit me.
I’m thankful for this life.
Now, I know LIFE itself is a gift. We should all give thanks for that. Although, some days it’s more than a little difficult to see the good stuff. But, I’m going to get a little more defined than that.
I am thankful for THIS life.
This life I lead is the thing that many dream of. Or, at least, they think they do.
Doing what you want, when you want...
That’s what everyone wants, right?
To “live your life like Jose”
But, I’m going to let you in on a little secret...THIS is NOT the life I would have chosen. Nope. I can assure you this isn’t the stuff of daydreams. And, while this is a good life I would never, ever, tell anybody that THIS should be their aspiration. The path that got us here was far too painful to wish on another human being.
If you had asked me twenty or thirty years ago what I would be doing now...it most certainly would NOT be THIS. This life can be hard on a good day and downright brutal on others. Today’s job of picking over 100# of cauliflower in a drenching drizzle at 38* fell somewhere in the middle. But, we are surrounded by life and beauty, and there is a major sense of pride and accomplishment in coaxing nourishment from the earth.
Quite honestly thought by this point in our life that things would be more stable and secure. I figured, if anything, the Boss would be retired and I would be doing volunteer work...maybe a member of the quilters’ guild...and our biggest challenge would be figuring out how to spend our free time with the grandkids.
That all changed years ago.
But, I’ve done the abbreviated version of that story. Read it here. And a blog post is not the place for a detailed version.
Suffice it to say, Life didn’t go according to plan.
But, then, does it ever?
It is the unexpected happenings that often bring the greatest joys. Certainly not in the moment of tragedy, despair and heartache.
It’s what we make of those experiences.
The truth is the heartbreak and devastation that I truly thought would destroy us turned out to be the greatest blessing. That “ending” was just the beginning.
But, the ability to see great blessings often means that we are challenging ourselves daily looking for a new and deeper perspective of the world that surrounds us. Some days that seems downright impossible. Some days I don’t want to look for the good in anything. I just want to sit here and feel sorry for myself that we lost so very much, and never achieved our dreams.
That takes us back to the perspective that I talked about last week. Did you read this?
The fact that we started over again from scratch in an unfamiliar place where we were alone and feeling vulnerable opened our eyes and our hearts to the struggles of others, developing our empathy in ways that wouldn’t have been possible had we continued on in our former life.
No money meant we had to get creative in a lot of areas. We have tried all sorts of ventures that never would have gotten the slightest consideration if income had been a sure thing. We learned countless things and met some amazing people who graciously helped us on our way.
The pursuit of income is what led us to the Market. And, our tenure at the Market has exposed us to people, things and ideas that we never would have experienced had we been following our original life trajectory.
And, in reality, we indeed live a life most only dream about. Charting our own course, making our own schedule and defining success on our terms. Our somewhat flexible schedule allows us to answer calls for assistance. To bless and be blessed. The abundance of food can help those in need. We are far more involved with the world around us than we ever dreamed in our “other” life.
...and we are far richer (although the bank account does not back me up here) for all these experiences.
Even though there are things about our life that we might wish were different...(that whole Market set-up at 5AM on Saturday mornings for 20 years comes to mind)...
...we have been blessed.
This life is a gift.
And, I am grateful.