I had already rallied the troops from their slumber, let the dog out and got her some water, made coffee, set out my son’s clothes for the day, picked up a few things, flipped a few light switches, and turned on the TV for a few minutes of sipping coffee. This is my usual morning routine, all which occurs shortly before 7:00A.M. After a few minutes of a caffeine injection, and a shower, I will then start my drill sergeant regimen of getting the kids to complete their tasks, make sure my wife is alive (she sleeps soundly), and then make my kids lunches for the day, and get “pre-dressed” to take the kids to school and walk my son to class, then return home to do banking and email, enjoy more coffee, then get dressed for work. Whew!
These tasks are usually met with my grunts and grumbles with a “time to make the donuts” type of sleepy demeanor. I will often whine like I am shouldering a tougher burden than I am, but it is just my role in the household, so I carry on. This morning I was making the kids lunches, and with my usual mindset that I must make the lunches with “love”, as for some reason, I feel they know it, and it has to be more nourishing than just tossing stuff in baggies, and then cramming them into their lunch boxes. Pre-coffee, this takes effort, but is always accomplished.
As I turned the corner on my way to once again bark up the steps that “we were going to be late”, (my usual wake up cheer), my attention was averted to my TV as the Today Show had as a guest a young woman who was sobbing, and I was captivated momentarily, as intuitively I was told to stop and listen if only for a minute. I heard, (not verbatim, but I am giving you the message) “It is the greatest pain you could ever feel, and I would not wish it on my worst enemy. When you are tripping over the bicycles, or picking up the clothes, and dealing with the daily frustrations, it is so worth it as it could be taken from you at any moment.” She continued with more, further driving this point into me like a railroad worker driving spikes with a hammer.
The woman was Diena Thompson, mother of Summer Thompson describing the loss of her daughter, who was abducted a few months ago and was found in a landfill as her final resting place. Her pain came through my screen. I was “tripping over bicycles” this morning. I was “picking up the clothes” and coping with the “daily frustrations”. She reached through the screen at me, grabbed me by the lapels, cocked her hand back and slapped me into awakening to the fact that they are still here, and to be thankful for that. Some are not as lucky; funny how our morning shifted. Okay God, you have my attention!
This started a cascade of pondering how maybe I should evaluate many things in my life as if they may be or become “gone”. How would I feel if some of the things I take for granted were suddenly taken from me, or simply absent without a trace? Would I cherish them differently now?
Aside from the above message; lately we have been delivered many “attention getters”. I do not need to share in detail what Haiti is dealing with after the earthquake. One minute a normal Tuesday walking the streets of a sunny community; the next minute rubble and thousands dead and missing. What was a poor country to begin with, now is simply praying for drinking water, food, and pain relief. They need help and hope to simply survive. I saw too this morning, images of houses buried in mud in California. I bet a week or so ago, they did not think sandbags would be part of their landscaping.
I am thankful now, as I am reminded to take yet another inventory that I can often dismiss with the other tasks I grumble through. I am warm, with a solid roof, beautiful people in my life, and all the amenities I need for the moment. I am thankful for right now. I love the statement of, “It is not having what you want, but wanting what you have”, and I appreciate today’s reminder. I have it pretty good God, and thanks for a wakeup call better than the Starbucks I am drinking.
I am including the link to the National Sex Offender Registry, as a father of two small children and a beautiful wife; it is nice to know who is living in the neighborhood that may be a threat. If you have people in your home, you wish to protect, check this out! (Sorry I do not know of others similar for my non-US friends)
There is also a link at the top of my page for Haiti relief, but here is one of the many who can help. This is for the Red Cross.
Finally, when discussing being powerless, or not having enough assets to share with others in times of disaster, I thought of this. We can always start by being thankful and grateful for what we have. We can also simply take a moment to say a prayer, and keep our eyes open for even the subtlest of opportunities to be able to open our hearts if not our wallets. That releases good energy, and we can all benefit from that!