Thursday, January 21, 2010


It has been a long day.

I woke up early, wrote my morning pages, raced to the bank to deposit a couple of checks (not soon enough), worked on my novel, went to the gym and put in 45 minutes on the elliptical machine (it's getting easier), worked some more on my novel (1049 words today, yay!), put a pot of vegetable soup on the stove, took a shower, and taught piano from one o'clock until nine thirty. I was just kicking back with a cup of tea and a good read when my phone rang.

It was Casey.

"Mom, I was in an accident. I'm fine, but I don't think my car is drivable."

I asked him where he was--just a couple of miles from home--and got there as quickly as I could.

He wasn't sure what happened, but our best guess--mine and a couple of witnesses'--is that one of his rear tires blew, causing him to lose control of his car. He went off the road and down an embankment; his car was on its side, at least for a moment, but appears to have been saved from flipping completely over by a fence. His back windshield is totally broken out, and the front of his car sustained some significant damage, as well, but with the assistance of a Good Samaritan, we were able to change the tire and drive the car back to the house.

He is having a hard time seeing the good in all this. We're talking about a 1997 Toyota Avalon here; there is no collision coverage on the vehicle, so all the necessary repairs will have to come out of Casey's pockets, and they aren't deep ones. But cars can be replaced, and children cannot. I have lost a loved cousin and a cherished brother to auto accidents, so I know all too well that, but by the grace of God, I might have gone to the hospital--or to the morgue--tonight. I try not to live in fear, but I know how fragile this life is. I am thankful beyond words.

I began a gratitude journal towards the end of January, 2008. I didn't write in it every day, but when I did, I filled a page with whatever I was thankful for at that particular time. Here are a few of the entries.

January 28, 2008--"I am thankful that Josh is so pumped up about going back to school."

January 29, 2008--"I am thankful that Nathan is willing to help me in so many ways--with the dog, with the house, with technology. I am thankful that he still wants to hug me and kiss me and tell me he loves me."

February 25, 2008--"I am thankful for my brother Greg and his love. I am thankful for Susie and all that she has brought to Greg's life. I am thankful for Cassie and Greg, Jr. I am thankful for Mom and Dad and that we were able to visit, have dinner and play 'Apples to Apples' together Saturday night."

March 11, 2008--"I am thankful that Eric found me such a great deal on a new computer. I am thankful for his love and the way he is always there for me."

March 16, 2008--"I am thankful that Greg called while Eric and Donna were here last night."

March 23, 2008--"I am thankful that Casey and I got to see 'Forgetting Sarah Marshall' together this afternoon."

This is the final entry:

May 6, 2008--"I am having a hard time feeling thankful right now. Because my brother, Greg, died the week before last. He was only 44. He left behind an 11yo daughter and a 2yo son and an adoring sister, among others. I don't understand much of anything right now."

There are still a lot of things I don't understand. Why brothers have to die. Why relationships fail. Why life seems so hard sometimes. But there is still much to be thankful for.

I think it's time to make a new entry in that gratitude journal.


Dan said...

We all have things that we can, could, should be thankful for. Too many times, we neglect to take the time to BE thankful. It's a shame really. So much of life is available to us and we shove it aside and choose to neglect it. We tend to choose rather to see things in a negative light. You were and are on the right track. Make note of the things in your life that are good. Choose to see that good. Life as a whole for you and even others around you will be better for it. We only have today. Tomorrow may never come. Be thankful for today and all today brings.

Debra Becht said...

Pull out the Bible and read Genesis again with a focus on Joseph. What a story to remind us that no matter the ups and downs in life, God never leaves us. Even when something seems horrible in the moment, give it time. God has a plan and we certainly may not know what that plan is. It will be revealed in time...HIS time. Be thankful and understand that everything is a blessing.

Carol Burnside said...

OMG, a gratitude journal. What a great idea. I have several journals that various people have given me, but I'm not a diary sort of person, so they sit. This is a wonderful way to make use of them and what positive karma!

Thanks for the idea, Pam. There is much in my life right now weighing me down. It can't hurt to remind myself of the bright spots in my day.

Pam said...

Yes, Carol, and it takes practically no time at all--five minutes at the end of the day, and then you're in the perfect frame of mind to drift off to sleep.

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