Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Somber thoughts, grateful thoughts

Hi, All.

2007 has been a rough year. We’ve lost a lot of really good people, to disease, to old age, to general infirmity…and I fear it may not be over yet. There we were at the funeral home again Tuesday night, paying our respects to a neighbor—a good-hearted woman whom we had the pleasure of getting to know for about a year. That was just long enough to begin to grasp what a hole she leaves in her absence.

It reminded me how many of those places we’ve visited this year, of how many holes have been left in 2007. It reminded me, too, that I can respond to these relentless and overwhelming losses in a couple of ways: I can think gloomy thoughts, and waste bitter hours asking why and trying to find logic and reason in the loss. Or, I can thank God every morning when I awake, and thank Him again when I rise from my comfy bed, and thank Him again when I eat my nice breakfast and enjoy my hot coffee and make a plan to drive to the market in my car and kiss my husband goodbye and hug my little boy good morning. I can choose to look at the blessings. It is a choice, after all. For some people—especially those who've lost someone they love, or who face daily hardships I can't imagine—perhaps it is a difficult choice. Hopefully, through much time and countless attempts, I can train myself to choose joy in blessings, instead of asking why. I want to ask it less and less, until hopefully my heart just stops asking, because asking why has never done me an ounce of good.

I can even take this a step further, by recalling two young friends that I lost while in college. Neither of them ever had the chance to finish that college degree. One was taken by cancer; the other was struck and killed by a drunk driver. I think of them both sometimes, even more often as I get older. I am stunned by the fact that I have now lived for twice as long as either of them did. I am saddened that they were denied the chance to experience more of life. And, I am so very glad that I was given the opportunities, the days and weeks and years, that those two friends did not have. I feel an obligation to all those folks who've been taken too soon; I am obligated to appreciate and embrace all the extra time I've been granted.

That’s about it for now. I’m putting this down in writing to make this choice a little more real, to make myself accountable in a way—and with the hope that as I articulate my desire to have a grateful heart, I plant that desire deep in myself a little bit more firmly.

Thanks for listening. Lighter days ahead.

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