Remember that old sweet song about counting your blessings?
“When you’re worried
And you can’t sleep,
Just count your blessings instead of sheep,
And you’ll fall asleep counting your blessings!”
(FYI, it works.)
Each and every worry I keep in my heart and mind takes up valuable space that could be holding all the good things in my life, such as:
- the love of family and friends
- a snug, sturdy and safe roof over overhead
- four happy, healthy (and spoiled rotten) cats
- the opportunity to feed the strays (cats, skunks, squirrels, raccoons, etc.)
- a comfortable bed to sleep in
- two good reliable vehicles (that were given to us!)
- food in the refrigerator, freezer, pantry and our garden
- clothes to wear and shoes on my feet
- the privilege of living in a free country (and appreciating those who sacrificed everything for my freedoms)
- the talents and gifts I have been given
- any book that grips my attention
- a good education
- the beauty of nature all around me each day
- seemingly random kindnesses
- good health
- the gifts of all my working senses
- the sweetness and lessons from the past
- the mystery and excitement of the future
- a really good cup of coffee
- the powerful magic of the words “I love you”
…oh, and there is so much more! Even the trials I sometimes face are gifts. They teach me that I am stronger and more capable than I thought I could be. We all have been scared or disappointed or worried or fearful; that’s just part of our lives from time to time.
But how much more do we have that is good in our lives? Let’s face it, things are not always going to go our way; that’s just life as we know it. But there are so many gifts given to us, often disguised as what we first think of as loss. It’s as if someone we trust is holding out a hand to lift us up into the boat we fell out of; we want to believe that they will pull us in.
The past year and this one so far has been a tough one for us all; kind of a universal shift of uncertainty, violence, fear, death, destruction and the loss of many things we hold dear. But for all that, good things still come along.
For every act of terrorism, anger, fear and worry, somewhere there is always an outpouring of love, help and understanding that makes us remember that we still have each other to lean on. I remember hearing about one woman, who, in the aftermath of one of the many “Black Lives Matter” demonstrations, put her arms around another woman, saying, “I’d rather hug you than hate you.”
Good grief, if that doesn’t give us hope, I don’t know what does. I understand too well that we can’t always magically get along, forget our differences, hold hands and sing “*Kumbaya” together. But I do have the hope that we can, in our own way, try not to let blind anger, fear and bitterness sour us forever on each other.
Just the other day, my wonderful step-daughter (mother of the Amazing Ava (5 years old) and her nearly 4-month old little sister, Juliette) called us to say that Ava can now tie her shoes, AND put her hair into a ponytail and/or a bun! And Juliette, who, like her sister before her, has evidently decided that she is going to skip all that crawling business and go right to standing and walking.
While I exclaimed how terrific that was, tears were flowing down my cheeks with the sheer joy of having these two beautiful little people in my life. I imagine all the things that they will do in this world and how they will inspire others.
And perhaps they will live by the “I’d rather hug you than hate you” rule.
“‘Kumbaya, my Lord’ was first recorded by an out-of-work English professor, Robert Winslow Gordon, in 1927. Gordon went on a search for black spirituals and recorded a song “Come by Here, My Lord”, sung by H. Wylie. The song was sung in Gullah on the islands of South Carolina between Charleston and Beaufort.”