I think I sensed it before I got out of bed this morning: a certain happiness, a lightness in my spirit like the light peeking through the edges of my closed blind.
I got up, opened the blind. The room flooded with white light. Snow on the ground!
So that was it. I am always happy on the first day of snow, that first glimpse of purity through the window, even though I may complain about it all the rest of the year. My spirit had known about the snow even though my eyes hadn’t seen it yet. Or at least, that is what I told myself.
Or maybe I was happy because Thanksgiving is tomorrow and I have today free for writing.
Then I realize, with shame, that I haven’t been thankful for a whole lot recently.
In a year grown newly cold, animals and humans give an appearance of huddling in for the winter. I picture the long season ahead.
Sickness among my students. An emergency appendectomy. Doctor bills, I’m thinking. How are his parents going to pay?
We have just come through a violent election, and I feel frustrated and burdened to see our country so divided. Every link I click, every news item I read, is bad news. Will there ever be an end of negativity and criticism? Ever?
Then I realize that I probably wouldn’t know how bad off I was if I didn’t have the news media to tell me. If I couldn’t compare myself with others, I would never know I was dispossessed and disgruntled, a member of the white working poor with no bright prospects on the horizon, no secure future.
I might even make the mistake of thinking I am blessed.
I have parents and a family who loves me. Food in abundance. A warm house. A big house. So many material things I can’t fit them all in my bedroom and must box them up for future times. Many, many friends. Salvation. Heaven. An unknown and intriguing future. A book contract. An entire beautiful Wisconsin countryside of fields and woods and lakes to explore.
I have SO MUCH.
This morning, it’s time to take my life back into my own hands. Time to stop letting comparison with others dictate my understanding of whether I am rich or poor. Time to look at my actual circumstances, the goodness I see around me, and know the truth.
I AM RICH.
I recently came across a poem Mom wrote when she was only ten years old. (That’s her as a young girl in the picture above.)
I think the poem is adorable. And so like Mom. I think she must believe this philosophy as firmly as an adult as she did when she was a child, because I’ve seen it lived out all through her motherhood years.
It is beautiful.
By Rose Miller (age 10)
Every day we should have Thanksgiving,
Every minute and every hour.
We should be thankful while we’re living,
All though we haven’t much power.
God has a lot more power,
And made everything we see.
So we should be thankful every hour.
God provides everything for me.
We should be kind and cheerful,
And not be grouchy and make a fuss.
We don’t even have to be fearful,
For we should know God will be with us.
We should have a Thanksgiving prayer,
Thank God for food, that keeps us living,
And then our dinner we would share,
That day we call Thanksgiving.