Hi – it’s me, Wayne. Remember me? I am one of the guys who pens a column for the local newspaper. It has been a while since we crossed paths, but it’s that time again. It’s a new year and I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and was able to spend time with family and friends.
I fully expect 2018 will be an exciting and great year, but it will not be without challenges. That can be said of any year, but I felt I had better state it right away since sometimes a person can feel a little trouble or adversity means the world is against them, they have bad luck, poor karma or feng shui, lost their mojo or somehow fell from grace. While any of those options could be true, trouble is a part of life that actually helps us learn, grow and develop. However, I never find it pleasant and generally try hard to avoid problems (which sometimes creates a whole different type of trouble). Enough of this negative talk since we know we will overcome difficulties because we have the resolve to do so. Therefore, let’s discuss a characteristic that is often in short supply and can be a big factor in a person’s approach to life and its challenges.
Let’s briefly explore the topic of thankfulness since we just came out of a season of love and goodwill. For all intents and purposes, love and goodwill should prevail all year long, but that is not the way our world tends to work. That is the polite way of saying we – as individuals – often function poorly when we get caught up in the stresses of daily living, and goodwill gets replaced with gut reactions and emotional responses.
I contemplated thankfulness when our children, their spouses and our grandchildren arrived for the Christmas holiday. It was wonderful to have all of them at home with us and we shared a lot of great memories, played fun games, went tobogganing and had awesome family time despite the deep-freeze that Mother Nature dropped on us. Our house was a noisy and chaotic place, but we had a blast because nobody focused on anything negative. Sure there were issues such as how to sit nine people in our small kitchen and whose turn it was to play with our grandkids. The greatest challenge I faced was the quietness of the house when everyone had left. Our home seemed as if it had lost most of its life and an eerie emptiness had taken its place. Yet, I was very grateful for the time we had together.
I was reminded of gratefulness when my wife read a post our daughter-in-law, Danielle, put on facebook after their visit. It basically stated that she was thankful for the blessings in her life and had recorded 1,365 things in the last year for which she had given thanks.
When asked to elaborate on the exercise, she said it began with a Bible study by Anne Voskamp that encouraged each participant to notice good in every day, even in bad times. “The point being you continually search out the good in things and it changes your life view,” said Danielle.
She noted that the good moments people notice are not meant to be big things, just a quick snapshot of a blessing that day. She then listed a few personal things for which she was thankful:
1 – Cuddles with our daughter Grace in the sun on the patio
2 – Static in the hair of Grace and her cousin Hana while playing at the park
3 – The constant “Why?” questions from Grace
4 – William’s smile when he gives Rhian (my pony) hay
5 – A supportive and comforting husband when all we want to do is cry
6 – Grace knowing to move stuff from her little brother, William, that he could choke on, putting it up high or telling him, “Not a toy.”
7 – How William says please
8 – Amazing family and friends near and far.
The fact Danielle could list 1,365 small things in one year for which she was grateful caused me to reflect and ask myself if I am truly thankful for my abundant life in Canada. I moan and groan and bellyache about the stupid things governments and political leaders do, but do I express an equal amount of gratitude for the positive actions of our government and leaders? Do I share positive qualities I notice about people, places and events or do I focus on the negative and do my best to proclaim those far and wide?
I do not make New Year’s resolutions, but I am going to work on being more positive and appreciate the good things I take for granted or seldom mention. One of the most recent things that I am thankful for is my health and lack of serious injury after falling during a game of shinny. It’s amazing how skills and abilities fade when they are not used for decades. I discovered that while playing hockey on a dugout with some young friends.
I caught an edge or a crack in the ice (that’s my version of events) and fell backward. I landed full force on my lower back, a fraction of a second later my head hit the ice sending my helmet flying which allowed my head to then hit the ice. Stars came into view for a few seconds, but I was able to finish the game. I walked oddly for a couple of days and groaned every time I sat down, but began improving after that. The experience truly left me thankful. I am most grateful for protective equipment, the way the human body can repair itself and the fun we had playing hockey. Now, I should get a pen and paper and get serious about being thankful.