Finding some reasons to be thankful

I turn my SUV into the pasture and follow the hedgerow to the back. The cloud of limestone dust rolls lazily down the road as I pull up near hubby’s truck. I open the door and swing down into the tall grass and start walking. The dry grass crunches beneath my feet as I approach the bent figure chainsawing through a large hedge tree trunk. I lift my face to the warm sun in a clear blue sky, which seems like a rarity this time of year. The light catches the sawdust in the air, and hubby turns around with a grin. A quick kiss on his cheek shows me that hedge wood doesn’t taste very good. He’s been working hard on that log just now, breaking it down into smaller chunks to bring back to the house to split. Doing some quick math in my head, that trunk will give us several days of good winter heat, if we use it judiciously. I feel warm and content already.

He’s proud of getting it cut off of the root ball, which is hanging on tenaciously out of an eroded creek bank. Standing safely on the bank, I’m secretly glad I wasn’t here to watch him cut the trunk . . .he must have been standing on that root just THERE that’s a good six feet above the rocky creek bed. I would have probably had a heart attack on his behalf. I’m thankful he’s so sure-footed. And then, standing in the half-shade of the half-bare trees, I look down again at that mostly dry creek bed and think back to this very spot earlier this year. As the occasional dead leaf spirals down around me, the realization dawns on me that, should I have stood here on this bank THEN, not only would the creek have been full, but it would probably have been knee-deep HERE. I can almost see the angry, muddy water racing by, swirling and eddying around those eroded trees, leaving some debris and taking others on its wild, roaring ride.

And I’m thankful. Sure, we seem to have gotten our 50-year, 100-year, and 500-year floods back to back over the last two or three years. Sure, we took on water in the basement for the first time ever. And so what if we now have an extra-fertilized spot in the front yard where the horses had to hang out until their pen ceased to resemble an inland sea? I’m thankful that those waters DID recede. I’m thankful for amazing neighbors: the ones who helped us build our emergency horse pen, and the one who talked us into our house past midnight when all other access points were flooded closed. I’m thankful for rescued tomatoes. I’m thankful for the bountiful hay harvest, and the memories made with the kids bringing it home. Plus, we’re all safe and well, including the animals. That’s the best part.

I’m thankful for my dear friend who moved to heaven this year. Lucille, you taught me more than you ever knew. And, thanks to those lessons, I’ve gained a whole new appreciation for people who I might have never gotten to know otherwise (I’m looking at you, Bob, Eldon, Irene, and Jan). Time spent with people who have that much experience at life is never wasted.

I’m thankful for losing. I didn’t make it to World Champion in TaeKwonDo Sparring. Still, we had a great family vacation. I’m grateful that we can make memories together that most people wouldn’t even consider (when’s the last time you practiced a martial arts form while standing on top of a cement dinosaur in the rain?), and cheer for each other’s competition. I’m thankful for this kind of never: I never thought I’d do TKD in the first place, let alone be a Black Belt. I’m thankful for a family that sticks together and kicks together.

I’m thankful for healing. Without trying to be useful while recovering from liver failure, I’d never have learned how to knit. Without some really supportive family and friends, I wouldn’t have had the guts to attempt a lace pattern . . .and with practice, make a lace shawl good enough to win Best In Show at the State Fair this year. Hopefully my family is also thankful for the countless hats and socks I knit them as well. At least they act thrilled when they unwrap yet another pair of socks.

It seems like the things I’m most thankful for begin in adversity. Neither great blessings nor great lessons materialize from complacency or comfort. I’m thankful to God for making those “nevers” into “nows.” Happy Thanksgiving, my friends. As in the old poem, my prayer for you all is that you have enough. Enough happiness to keep you sweet,
Enough trials to keep you strong,
Enough sorrow to keep you human,
Enough hope to keep you happy;
Enough failure to keep you humble,
Enough success to keep you eager,
Enough friends to give you comfort,
Enough wealth to meet your needs;
Enough enthusiasm to look forward,
Enough faith to banish depression,
Enough determination to make each day better than yesterday.