One day a mother took her young son to the seashore. As the boy played in the sand, she stood only a few paces away, watching him. Still, she was too far away to do anything as a giant wave arose and swept her son out to sea. Immediately she raced out into the waters, but could not find him to rescue him.
Frantic, she looked up to the heavens and prayed, "Oh, Dear Lord in Heaven, please bring me back my precious baby!" With the next great wave, the boy was gently, miraculously placed into her arms once more.
Kneeling in the drying sand and holding the child close, she glanced upward once more and called out, "He had a hat!"
It may not be apparent to many people, but I'm usually a glass-half-empty sort of person. I'm the sort who, were I the mother above, would not only ask for the hat back, but probably complain about getting us both wet and salty. Being happy with one's lot in life is a direction I don't find comfortable. And so, it comes as some real surprise that, as this holiday approaches, I'm not only happy, but genuinely thankful for all the good which has come my way.
Let me enumerate a small handful of the highlights, from smallest to most precious:
- I introduced a new cat into my household, this summer. Over the intervening months, the older female has not accepted the change well, and has spent much of her time hiding or hissing. This week, she began sleeping beside me once more, and has even shown signs she will not try to kill the new cat. The first signs of peace are here.
- I live in a community which, like my older female cat, is averse to change. And, yet, it continues to show itself a haven for creative minds -- from the national and international success of our college's historians to the array of local artistic and musical talents (of which these links provide only a small sample, so far). It is hard to be cynical in the presence of such exuberant spirits.
- A summer storm brought down a tree in my yard, and, while my young neighbor's truck was crushed, the owner of the vehicle had been behind schedule and had not been in the truck at the time -- even though he "ought to have been." (In fact, most blessedly, nobody here was seriously hurt, and only one man was killed by the sudden storm.) All the heavy trees have been cleared from my land, now. As a bonus, with the trees gone, I have no need to rake.
- There is a chance that my most recent efforts to write my resumé will at least get my foot in the door of a career I have groomed for all my adult life. Even if it does not bring me a salary, it has taught me that my lifelong low self-image is not supported by family or fact. I may forget facts, but family will always be there.
- I have a good, kind, and loving family, some of whom I met only a few weeks ago, and others of whom made that meeting possible. For the first time, I spoke face-to-face with the daughter I gave up years ago. Not only did I meet her and her husband, but was pleasantly surprised to meet her daughter and newborn son -- she let me cradle my tiny grandson in my arms. How can one be anything but thankful and breathless and awed?
May your Thanksgiving Day have as many reasons to give thanks -- if not more.