On caregivers, faith, family, and writing…

Published in the Rains County Leader on November 17, 2022:

It’s that time of year again. Yes, it’s time to begin preparations for the holidays, but it’s also time to complain – about everything! As I finally sat down to write my column after a busy week, I scanned through that valuable source of inspiration – Twitter. As sometimes happens, among the usual time-wasting nonsense, I found a gem – Concentrate on counting your blessings and you’ll have little time to count anything else.

Apparently, there’s not a lot of blessing counting going on these days, because a lot of people are finding a lot of time to complain. Since the mid-term elections were just held last week, politics seems to be the focus of many complaints: the process is not fair, the voting requirements are too strict or not strict enough, there’s no one good to vote for, the counting process takes too long, the wrong candidate won, and too many other complaints to list.

But surely there are political blessings in there somewhere if we concentrate hard enough. We have the right to vote, and we have a variety of times and methods to accomplish that process. And even when all your favorites didn’t win, some did. If you didn’t like any of the choices, you have the opportunity to get involved at a grass roots level to get behind a candidate you can really support.

So, if you’re not complaining about the government, what are you going to complain about? The weather, of course. The rain messed up our plans to go camping or to the football game, or it ruined our first annual fall festival. On the other hand, the garden or the hay field didn’t do well because of lack of rain. Maybe you hate the colder temperatures because you can’t seem to get warm, or maybe you can’t get into the holiday spirit because it’s too hot.

Regardless of the weather, though, we can be grateful that most buildings are air conditioned now, and most of us have a warm, dry place to be during the winter. For those who are not as fortunate, there are opportunities for the rest of us to help provide for their needs.

At a certain age, we become our own source of complaints. We can’t see, hear, taste, or smell as well as we used to, and when we get up in the morning, everything hurts until we get moving. The mirror isn’t as kind as it used to be, and the clothing manufacturers aren’t making jeans as big as they used to be. The kids and grandkids don’t come to visit, and when they do, they’re too noisy.

We often forget that reaching the age of complaints is a blessing in itself. The wisdom and experience we’ve gained over the years allows us to deal with the challenges, and modern medicine doesn’t hurt either. And hopefully we’ve learned to count even the irritations of family as a small cost of the blessing of having them in our lives.

Finally, there’s a constant stream of complaints between the holiday lovers and the Scrooges. One side complains because the pumpkin spice products are not in the stores early enough, and the other side abhors the tinsel and lights that appear before the Halloween costumes are put away. Then there’s the debate over which kind of pie is better, whether it’s dressing or stuffing, and whether presents should be opened on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning. In spite of all the complaints, the holidays are full of blessings if we only concentrate.

At one stage of my life I sold insurance for one of the major carriers. It was in the era before smart phones and memes and even before faxes, but my sales manager still found a way to encourage his employees. Several times a week we received mail from him that included regulation updates, announcements of various kinds, and inspirational sayings and pictures. One of my favorites went something like this: Happiness is a choice. Don’t wait until you get the perfect mate, job, house, or car to be happy. Just be happy. 

If he was sending a similar message today, he might say Don’t wait until all your candidates win the election, the weather is perfect, you feel like a teenager again, or your holiday celebrations are like a Hallmark movie to count your blessings. Thanksgiving is next week. Choose to concentrate, count, and be blessed.



Kitty’s Story

Fallen Angel Salvage

Tatia’s Tattoo

Mom’s Long Goodbye

A Long and Winding Road

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: