It’s early May and spring is in full flush; roses in our front yard emit a beautiful fragrance while honeysuckle in the back reminds me of my youth. I’m training one bush along the chain link on the eastern side of the house, while a lone sunflower heads northward. I planted more than one seed there, but at least one survived.
Nine more struggle on the west side of the house, snails are eating them, poor babies. Grass is still green, although we won’t water it, just sparing enough agua for the fruit trees, roses, and flowering bushes. Oh, and for the apple tree my husband planted in our front yard a couple of years ago. It sports tiny apples, sticking out like the proverbial sore thumb, but it makes him happy, so who am I to complain?
Truly, I can’t gripe about anything, and that is made more profound by the spate of misfortunes suffered by those in our circle. Two cases of cancer, the death of good friends’ adult child, lingering injuries to another from a car accident which occurred last year; these aren’t just coming in threes, but en masse, and I’ve been offering prayers of condolence and healing through the roof. As I sat at my desk, staring at story notes, the simplicity felt like a slap; paper clips and flash drives, stationary and post-it notes clutter a somewhat organized work space. But for those in turmoil, nothing appears normal.
I recall those days from last year, when Dad was sick and my youngest was a new mom and my eldest was awaiting her baby. Little Miss is coming on a year old, while The Burrito is almost fifteen months. I was graced to soothe the loss of my father with those wee ones, but no such luxuries exist for those who are now enduring hardship, which makes my prayers important. Peace is often the most essential element required.
As my faith moves along its own little road, I grasp more and more to it, for life’s storms don’t pay attention to weather forecasts, but rush in as they please, rocking foundations that might just be newly laid. A good year past Dad’s death, I’m in a fairly productive groove, continuing with The Hawk, sewing here and there, even finding time to nurture some ragged looking sunflowers. All of that seems a very long ways from this time in 2015 when I was trying to find my footing in a post-Dad world, the New Normal as my sister put it. But as I wrote to the mom of the daughter still struggling to regain her physical health after being in a head-on collision, their lives haven’t merely hit a hurdle or detour. A new roadway has been formed, and all of them are taking steps along that altered horizon. Those sorts of paths are never anticipated, and the changes can be utterly disconcerting.
Which brings me back to being thankful, also peaceful, not easy tasks, I will admit. But there is so much in this life to rattle our peace of mind, calamities notwithstanding, that peace of mind is vital to our own health, physical, mental, and emotional. Having turned fifty, ahem, aches and pains seem to have increased as if my body knew that milestone had been reached. Well fine, I say to myself, I’ll drink those eight glasses of water each day, lay off the donuts, increase the steps on the pedometer. But just as important are the less tangible efforts to maintaining serenity, passing it along where I can, and lately I feel that occurs on a daily basis. Yet that too is something for which to be thankful, that in the minor frets of my life, like snails chomping on hapless sunflower plants, I can stay grounded in the goodness that is 99% of the rest of my day, backaches aside. For even in the darkest moments, good purposes remain. The darkness reminds me how bright are the sunny days, and when they return, how blessed I am for them.
Which then enables me to rejoice with those who rejoice and more vitally, to mourn with and console those in dire need. That ability is not of my own making, but grace freely given, and gladly accepted. It’s a circle, which becomes stronger through the sorrows and the joys. It’s being thankful for all things, regardless how they appear, even snails, ugg. Yes, snails need their due. Not sure why, but I won’t ponder that. My hubby can sort them out, for which I am also exceedingly thankful.