One of the great blessings of my life is I was taught – and learned – at a young age to be grateful and find the good. It’s a habit I keep most every day.
I am thankful for things great and small. Let me count a few for you. Hummingbirds sipping nectar from the feeder on my patio; a pointy-eared dog who dances and prances at my every homecoming; sunsets tinged in pink I’ve watched; sunrises painted gold I catch; grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup suppers when it’s freezing outside; Friday night dinners with friends.
I have a picture taken last summer of me sitting on the beach with my 5-year-old daughter. The picture is taken from the back, and it beautifully portrays the vastness of the sea, and a tiny little girl, with yellow floaties around her arms sitting beside me at the ocean’s edge. I’m sure anyone would think it was precious – but every time I look at the picture, I remember her explaining to me that some people run around on the beach, but, if you’re scared of big waves, you can sit near the edge of the ocean, and the water will come to you, but it won’t knock you down.
Her innocent wisdom warmed my very soul.
When you read this, I will be eight days short of the five-year anniversary of packing an edited version of everything I owned and moving to San Angelo from Brownwood for what may have been the biggest leap of faith I have ever made in my life.
And my, what an adventure it’s been. Every day I am glad I am where I am, but happy too, to have been where I’ve been. I love that I’ve been afforded the opportunity to do what I need to do.
Life does get to be a little hamster wheelie. We go ‘round and ‘round, and the 50 bazillionth time we go round, we forget why we got on the wheel and what our purpose is for continuing.
My mama used to threaten us as children when we were stalling on doing something we were asked to do, that she wanted it done “while we were still able.”
It was years before I actually paid attention to what “still able” literally implied.
But truthfully, my happy blessing is that I am “still able” to do and enjoy life so fully.
Things change, and often those changes are hard to accept. What I try to remember is to have patience for the one-thing-leads-to-another process. Not a hamster wheel rotation, but something more lineal involving some pretty steep hills and some pretty low valleys.
Sometimes it seems like the five years in-between loading that 20-foot truck and leaving Brownwood and the here and now have flown by. Sometimes it seems like it’s been far longer than just five years.
There have been many valuable lessons, not all of which were taught. Some just came to me in quiet realizations.
This is what I know. Life isn’t really an achievement, but rather like a garden – something to be cultivated. No gardener decides when the garden is in full bloom, it’s done and over. Instead, the gardener anticipates the next season, enjoys what is and works to see that there is purpose to her toil.
I’m thankful for my friends, who teach me things and advise me well. Who listen and care.
Among those I’ve come to count as friends are the six ladies I’m in a church life group with, and I am especially thankful for the study we are involved with now. We’re learning to take rest, have faith and let go; to be still, to find quiet moments in every day to replenish the spirit and alter our attitudes.
How blessed am I to have this life; a family I love, who loves me if not because of – then in spite of – my quirks. How grateful I am to have this space and place – still – on Sundays. To those who have taken the time to read what I have written, I am more grateful to you than I can say.
May you be blessed with as many blessings as I have found and the intuitiveness to be grateful for each and every one. Or, as my tea bag advised this morning, be the blessing you would want to find for someone else.
Thank you for being here. May your Thanksgiving be blessed and bountiful, and all your corners be brightened with gratitude.
Candace Cooksey Fulton, formerly of Brownwood, is a freelance writer now living in San Angelo. She writes weekly columns for the Brownwood Bulletin and the San Angelo Standard-Times, each unique to the particular paper. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.