“I cannot even imagine where I would be today were it not for that handful of friends who have given me a heart full of joy. Let’s face it, friends make life a lot more fun.” Charles R. Swindoll
“A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.” Walter Winchell
As usual I was contemplating what I should be appreciating and immediately thought of the usual subjects like husband kids family. It was so familiar that I could skip through my list swiftly and lightly. Then I began real meditation letting my mind slip away on its’ own thoughts. It was then that I remembered a few more things I should be grateful for that I hadn’t thought about in a long time. It brought back past memories that I hadn’t considered at the time to be thankful for.
During my parochial school years the nuns made it a point to tell us to be thankful for everything. I remember one nun stating “I don’t care if you lost a leg. Just be grateful you have another leg.” That stuck with me. Have no self pity is what I learned. I must admit the idea of appreciation is clearly something worth striving for in our daily lives.When I was first married and living in an apartment I remember having a small, ten feet by eighteen inch area of land to plant one box of six marigolds into the ground. My oldest son of not quite two was playing as I worked. When finished I began putting things together to put away when in front of me stood my son and in his hands were the six beautiful marigolds. He held his hands high and stated, “For you mommy.” I was stunned at first but my heart melted and filled with love at the kindest act of love I could have received. I scooped him up and hugged and kissed him and then we walked inside to place them in a glass of water. he beamed and smiled with happiness at my reaction. I laugh even today whenever I think of that day. I appreciate that moment of love, laughter and life in its’ irony.
Moving forward in my life and I am sure missing many more acts of love I should appreciate, I recall buying my first house which was tiny and definitely a fixer upper. My husband was not in favor of buying the house because we didn’t have a lot of money but I wanted to put the money towards something that was our own so we went ahead and bought it. My husband was never fond of it and will state this to this day. he dreamed of something far better. I on the other hand loved it. I appreciated that it was our home and I worked hard to spruce it up. Living in the city we had very little land but the small fenced in yard worked nicely for our two young babies and a third on the way.
I cannot tell someone what pleasure was found in that first house. I was happy and very much aware it might be the only house we would ever own. I was satisfied and grateful for every moment we spent in that home which held many enjoyable memories. Not once did I think of something better. I was too busy enjoying what I had at the time.
As we move forward I recall never being able to live near family. This was ironic because I was never one who enjoyed change or travel so it was poignant that I should be on the road so much due to my husband’s job. I never had family to depend on. Paying for babysitters made our dates few and far between. I met my closest friend who was old enough to be my mother, at the mailbox. She helped me, offered advice and kept me company with my three little ones so the days were not lonely.
Expecting my fourth child brought a tough experience to endure. he was early and sent to a neonatal unit at another hospital. Having had c-sections the vertical way I was not allowed to transfer. I got out early and looked forward to going to see my baby at night with my husband. My friend came over one day and said are you going to see the baby and I said I can’t drive yet and then I burst out crying. She replied, “get into my car we’re going now while the other kids are at school,” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing but I did just what she said and from that day onward we went everyday at lunch and then I got to go at dinner with my husband. I remember feeling like I was going to snap from the emotional feelings I was having. Her interference in my life brought me a peacefulness. There are times now she drives me crazy but I value her too much to ever let go. I remind myself of her worth. She is one of my treasures.
As life moseyed along I remember meeting one young mother who introduced herself as my new neighbor. She was wonderful and friendly but I felt sad when she mentioned that her house was just her starter home. She bluntly stated she was moving on in a couple of years to a bigger house. She did just that but within a couple of years at her newest house she divorced. I don’t know the reason but I wondered if she was ever happy with what she possessed or the people she had in her life.
Another good friend babysat when I had a wedding or important engagement. We traded kids and babysitting. As the years proceeded she disappointed me deeply and I cut my connections with her but never stated this in words. We rarely saw each other or spoke until one day i began to remember all the wonderful times we had shared at Holidays and with the kids. Suddenly I was angry with myself. yes she did hurt me but the times she made me happy surpassed the bad time. I began calling her again and we quickly picked up where we left off. I believe we are on firmer ground now and are less apt to take each other for granted. I recognize the merit she brings to my life.
I could continue my list but I think I’ll save some thankfulness for tomorrow. We forget all the kind acts of love as soon as one simple hurt is sent our way. It is never too late to renew a relationship. it is never too late to appreciate what we have. If we tossed something good away we should strive to get it back. It is worth the effort or at least worth saying a prayer of thanks for having had that person in our lives. Our angels are not always the ones we would choose but somehow they show up at the right moment to make our lives more fulfilling. Their significance is immeasurable.
“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand.” Henri Nouwen
“In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.” Albert Schweitzer
“In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.” Khalil Gibran