Sunday, November 18, 2012

Blessings large and small

It's once again that time of year when we reflect, in between bites of turkey and cranberries, on all the things we have to be thankful for. This year, I obviously have one really big cause for gratitude in the fact that Brian and I got off so lightly from "Superstorm" Sandy. More than 100 Americans died as a result of this storm; hundreds of homes were destroyed; here in our own town, many residents were without power for a week in the middle of a cold snap. Here, we were without power for less than 48 hours; our only losses were a pint of milk (which might actually have been still drinkable, but we didn't risk it) and a crotchety old inkjet printer that was on its last legs anyway. No question, we got off cheap.

Yet it occurred to me, as I was taking a shower the other day, that there are a powerful lot of much smaller blessings that it's easy to overlook because we're so used to them. I can take a hot shower every single day if I want to, and dry off with the biggest, fluffiest towel IKEA has to offer. That's a luxury that even the richest of the rich couldn't have imagined just a few hundred years ago, and that would be beyond the dreams of millions of the world's people even today. Yet most days, I don't even pause to think about how lucky I am to be able to enjoy it.

So this year, my Thanksgiving list is going to focus on the little things—the small blessings it's all too easy to take for granted. By focusing my attention on them for this one day, maybe I can help myself be more aware of them on every other day. So....

I'm thankful that simply by flipping a switch, we can have more than enough light to read, cook, play, and (if necessary) work long past sundown.

I'm thankful that, no matter how much I complain about being cold in my office even with four layers of clothing on, I do actually have the option of turning up the heat if I really need to.

I'm thankful that we not only have plenty of food to eat, but plenty of delicious food to eat every day of the week. (Recent meals include pasta a la Caprese, made with the last of our tomato crop, and homemade chicken pot pie, made with humanely raised chicken.)

I'm thankful that Brian's job provides us with good health insurance at an affordable cost.

I'm thankful that we have the biggest library in history—which is also the world's biggest shopping mall, movie theaterroad atlas, news source, and a veritable gold mine of bizarre facts and other diversions—at our fingertips.

I'm thankful that we have enough money to feel no guilt about discarding a pint of so-called chocolate-peppermint coffee creamer, a "seasonal item" that I was initially thrilled to find for a buck fifty at the Aldi, only to discover upon tasting it that I could discern no trace of either chocolate or peppermint in the flavor and the mouthfeel was a bit like melted Crisco. (And I'm positively gleeful that I was able to replace it, today, with a pint of Bailey's coffee creamer—normally $2.59 at the Stop & Shop, on sale this week for $1.50, a mere 50 cents with my dollar-off coupon, and 45 cents after deducting a nickel for our reusable shopping bag.)

I'm thankful that, with Thanksgiving still four days away, we already have most of our holiday shopping done, and thus will have no need to go anywhere near a mall on Black Friday.

I'm thankful that it's still warm enough out this weekend to hang one more (possibly last) load of laundry on the line—and that when it's no longer warm enough, or when it just isn't convenient, I can simply toss it all in the dryer instead.

And I'm thankful that, with so many things to be thankful for, there are probably hundreds more that I just can't think of right now.

Happy Thanksgiving!
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