The changes happening in our house reflect the stark, brilliant leaves on the trees outside. Autumn has always been my favourite time of year – full of contradiction and beauty. How can the changing colours on the trees – actually signs of death and endings – start some new hope inside my heart. Maybe it’s the 12+ years of school we all experience, which coincides with the start of autumn. So we have a Pavlovian response – the trees change and we have the hope of something new beginning.
This weekend we finalized my husband moving into his new place, and I started to rearrange furniture in my home and settle into this new way of being that has arrived. My heart and head have waged war on the continuum of emotions. I struggle to keep a smile on my face for my kids. And my coworkers and patients, for that matter. No one needs to hear the battle cacophony with it’s contradicting emotions.
It doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to know that finding thanksgiving and gratitude in the midst of a crappy situation will help one to deal with things.
So here we go, a list of things I’m thankful for, in no particular order:
- Two amazing children who keep me on my toes with their very normal kid-behaviour … liberally sprinkled with sarcasm, back-talk, teenaged angst, laughter, and acceptance of everyone.
- A career that allows me to lift myself up when I lift up others. I don’t have to save a life every night to feel good about myself and my work – it’s simply enough to know I make the compassionate choice over the many other options available to me every night.
- A newly ex-husband who doesn’t feel the need to place a label on our relationship. We can just be ourselves and continue being kind and respectful to each other as we do divorce our own way, not needing to follow anyone else’s path.
- A not-so-new ex-husband who went a married a lovely person who is a great step-mom to my son. And ex-in-laws who recently celebrated 44 years of marriage, proving that it can be done and it doesn’t have to be perfect to be a great love story (in fact, better that it’s not).
- My home, as imperfect and messy as it is. It’s a perfect analogy for who I am. Kind of a mess, under construction, but with good bones and a good heart.
- Family near by and far away, always there when I need them. Who help me swim when I’m sinking, and let me ford the river on my own at times, too. I don’t need rescuing every day, you know.
- Friends who reach out like they are reading my mind. Who call at the right time, offer dinner or beer or a gym date (or all of the above).
- Enough money in the bank to keep me focused on saving AND to keep food on the table.
- The opportunity to see people in real need, distress and despair on a regular basis – it keeps me focused on how much I have and how little I truly need.
- A safe home with a warm bed and the most sensitive smoke detector on the planet. I don’t even have to burn something for it to go off… we’ll never die in a fire, that’s for sure.
- Health – I can’t overstate how thankful I am for a strong, healthy body. She fails me just often enough to keep me working hard to build her back up again.
- THIS DOG (who isn’t even mine, but we get to dog-sit her) who stayed with us during our first weekend alone and brought joy to everyone: