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CYC-Online 110 APRIL 2008
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Finding gratefulness

So, it is still winter here – well, more than “still”, we are now into the deepest part of winter – I know it is not the same everywhere and, frankly, today I envy some of you where the days are warmer and the nights refreshing.

The river is frozen (as are my tootsies some days) and I see people going by – some on skis, some on foot – families, individuals, couples – all dressed for the weather and, as they say here, “taking advantage of it.”

Now, I am not a real winter person (how did I come to be born in this country anyway?) and so I tend, as do many others, to stay inside more at this time of the year. I tend to whine and complain a lot – but not always. Sometimes I stop shivering enough to see the beauty – give up one way of experiencing for another. Focus differently.

At this moment, for example, the setting sun is stunning as it reddens the frozen blue sky and the long shadows of trees, falling across the snow, make patterns I wouldn’t see at other times.

In a few minutes I will go chop some kindling and I know I won’t be seeing this beauty then – instead I will be wishing it was another season as the wind blows snow in my face while I try to split a log into smaller strips.

I see how I can make a choice, however. It just requires an exercise of will. Instead of whining about the wind, I could focus on how fortunate I am, or how grateful I am – to be alive, to have food, family and a home, to be safe. Life could be a lot worse, couldn’t it? And I have the audacity to complain. In many ways, shame on me, I guess.

I am thinking about all the complaining I hear when I visit programs, or talk with workers – how “this isn’t as good as it should be”, or how “the vehicle is old”, or the “materials worn”, the pay poor. And I am thinking “you have a vehicle, and materials and a paycheck”? Everyone should be so lucky.

Finding gratefulness, as my friend Ernie likes to say, really can change your experiencing. I think I will go enjoy chopping the kindling. And be grateful for the experience.