Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Count Your Blessings

“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.”

(Thornton Wilder)

I have had a heart full and a heart heavy these past few days.
Full of the goodness in the simple and beautiful things that make up my life.
Heavy with the weight of sadness for lives lost and pain being suffered.
I processed my thoughts in my usual way, with words and pictures.

On Saturday I posted this picture and these words on my FB page:
Thrifting and coffee today with Aaron and Davy.
These are some of the sweet and simple pleasures of my little life.
All day long I thought of those families who would give anything to have their sweet and simple lives back, and my heart grieved for them.
Life is a vapor and we mustn't take our time here together for granted.
I also posted this:
I spent the last 2 days with only this little guy at home with me.
I love our full house, and all the joy my kids bring to one another.
But I also loved the time spent with just David, focusing all my attention on him, and remembering the days that seem so long ago when I was a new mommy to just 1 little boy.
Time goes by so fast.
I am terribly emotional right now, feeling so grateful and sad at the same time. 
Sometimes all you can do is weep with those who weep.
In the wake of tragedy, it is easy for us to stop and count our blessings.
We really remember to be deeply thankful for all that we have.
But unless we are directly affected by the tragedy, in a short time our lives move forward, and we allow ourselves to become immune to the tragedy, and beauty, that is all around us, all the time.
I don't think it is purposeful.
It's just easy to do.
There are a lot of distractions that keep us out of touch with the things that really matter.

One thought I've had as I've reflected on the events at Sandy Hook Elementary School, is that I need to feel this deeply for the pain and suffering of children everywhere, not just the 20 who lost their lives there.

My heart should ache for those 20 little lives ended too soon, and for other little lives that are hurting the whole world over, because that aching will be a call to action.
It will cause me to count my blessings.
And it will cause me to step out of my little world, and make a difference in the bigger world around me.
At least that is what I am hoping.

My kids were sick with the stomach flu this weekend.

I was literally up the entire night on Saturday with William.
He threw up for hours on end.
I laid on the hard wood floor next to him all night long, freezing cold and horribly uncomfortable, because he wanted me to be with him.
And as I laid there, I cried for the mommies and daddies who would give anything to be laying on a cold, hard, floor next to their sons and daughters.
They would love to listen to them breathe, rub their back when while they threw up, and wouldn't mind cleaning out the barf bowl over and over again.
And then I cried for all the little boys and girls who were laying in bed alone that night, wishing for a mommy to lay next to them and hold them when they were sick or afraid.
I was grateful that I had William, and that he had me.

The next day I counted my blessings when they boys felt well enough to "play".

Even though playing only consisted of laying on the floor, halfheartedly pushing matchbox cars and building Lego creations.
This is not our norm.
We are fortunate to be healthy.
This morning, when the pile of laundry waiting to be folded grew and grew, and tired kids lay sprawled all over the living room, I was grateful for the luxuries I often take for granted, like Netflix, and a washing machine and dryer.
And when this little boy finally came down with what his siblings all got, I was grateful for wood floors that are so easy to clean up.
I was grateful for the new blanket sleepers I found at the thrift store this weekend, because he was going through clean pajamas at a record rate.
I was grateful that I didn't have to worry about the stomach flu having dire consequences for my little boy--just minor inconveniences for me.
And at the end of two days taking care of 4 very needy little kids, I thought of all the people who are full time caregivers.
They care for elderly parents or children with special needs.
I can look forward to the cabin fever ending, knowing I will get a break from the nursing and tending to so many physical needs.
But they won't.
It made me mindful.
Mindful of the ways I can reach out to the people I know who are in that position.
And even to those that I don't know.

It's almost a new year, and time to take stock of things I'd like to do differently.

My hopes are big ones.
I've decided I don't want to be immune--to the beauty or the tragedy.
I don't want to be complacent.
I usually find it easy to seek out the beauty in my daily life.
But I tend to shield myself from the tragedy.
I don't like thinking about the hurting and the pain so many suffer because it makes me sad and uncomfortable.
Instead of shying away from it, I'd like to help people who are hurting.
I am going to keep counting my blessings.
And I am going to feel life: the pain of it, the laughing, the tears, the joy, the sadness, and the beauty.
I am going to remember.

It's easy to let the darkness in this life weigh us down.
We can easily give into feelings of hopelessness.
It's much harder to fight against that and be a force for good.
I pray I can be a force that lives out the truth of this, one of my favorite Bible verses:
"Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." (Romans 12:21)

I found this quote and am so inspired by the truth of it.
The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”  Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

And when I don't feel I can live up to that lofty goal, to let the hard things in life shape me into someone better, I draw strength from these words, one of my most favorite of all hymns, Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee.
"Joyful, joyful we adore Thee,
God of glory, Lord of love,
Hearts unfold like flowers before Thee,
Opening to the sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness, 
Drive the dark of doubt away,
Giver of immortal gladness,
Fill us with the light of day."

Today I am counting my blessings.
Love from,


jennifer said...

I LOVE that hymn too! Beautifully written friend. xox

Betsi* said...

I too have been allowing myself to plum the depth of my sadness at the tragic loss of innocent lives last week. And conversely, I have also been pondering in my heart the sweetness of my life with my children and all our blessings. Thought provoking words. Love you