Thankful for specific things

Thankful for specific things

As I was thinking about Thanksgiving 2015, I realized that it is so different than most of the Thanksgivings I have celebrated in my life. Ted has been in heaven for some 15 months; many good friends and family members have gone there, too. (I buried my brother in August.) Relationships have ended, others have begun, and our children are growing up right before our very eyes. My sweet and kind grandson, Brendan Michael, my namesake, graduates from high school this year, and Steven, my oldest, has been in the U.S. Navy for almost a full year. He has been in boot camp at the Great Lakes in the coldest part of the wintertime, on a sunny beach in Florida, and now nearly 2,000 miles from home. So, yes, things have changed, and I have had to learn to deal with the differences.

Some days have been terrible and some just OK, while some have been fun. I have tried the best I know how to put my life back in gear, after getting it out of neutral where it was stuck for a few weeks as I learned to cope. God has been very real to me, His Word has sustained me, and friendships have been strengthened. I thank God for the four o’clock friends, those you can comfortably call that early who will listen, advise, cry with me, love and pray. And they don’t share my heartache with others without permission.

I truly am trying each day to be grateful for some one thing, perhaps insignificant to some, but important to me. If I can grasp hold of gratitude early in the day, it helps me to stay focused, not get lost in my sadness, and move forward. Most of the time, my gratitude centers on one little thing, and I am going to list some of them in no particular order. I challenge each of our readers to do the same. Sit down, quiet down, pick up a pen or a pencil, and jot down what you have found helpful, kind, good, true and honest in your life in these past 12 months.

I love seashells – actually, anything from the sea – so finding a pretty treasure from the incoming tides makes me happy. I thank God He made them all as different as He did human beings. I love a beautiful spring day, but I also like a crisp, fall morning. I absolutely love a good, hot, soaking, bubble bath in my big tub. If you know me well, you know I love and treasure my books, and some are old friends that line my shelves and bring me comfort, excitement and joy. I have learned this year to nap when I am tired and having the freedom to do so has encouraged me to simply rest when I find the time.

It might put me among the minority here, but I love a strong, windy thunderstorm on the beach (as long as it does no damage). There is something magical about watching lightening over the waves and hearing the thunder roll about in the darkening sky. I have been known to sit on my deck and watch the storm roll in until the rain starts blowing, getting me wet. My mother got so angry with me in the past because she was so frightened of a thunderstorm. She would stand at the door and demand that I come inside, and mind you, I was in my 60s when she ordered me around in my own home. Some things are slow to change.

In the first few months after Ted died, I felt so lost and undone, and honestly did not know which way to turn. I found it difficult to make decisions and often lingered too long before choosing a path. Lately, I am trying to focus on the independence my new life offers, and I try to take the bull by the horns and take care of business and travel in a mature manner.

I love a fuzzy puppy dog, but lately I have learned to love two very old chocolate labs. They have a bit of trouble getting up the two flights of steps from the lawn to the deck and I watch with sympathy as they slowly make their way up to visit or eat. They are each 15 years old, so they are elderly in dog years, I am told, and they are sisters from the same litter. I have a favorite, but I try my best not to let them know which it is.

This Thanksgiving would be an excellent time for each of us to consider what we are truly grateful for in our lives. I did not list family and friends, or a home to live in, or a car to drive, or food to eat, because I believe almost everyone takes those gifts pretty much for granted here in America. I would enjoy reading your list if you care to share. Happy Thanksgiving 2015.


Brenda Cannon Henley can be reached at (409) 781-8788 or at brendacannonhenley [at] yahoo [dot] com.