October 5, 2016
Well, it certainly is autumn, at least in my neck of the woods.
The last few days have been chilly and wet—all right, comparatively chilly at around fifty to 60 degrees. The rain really is a blessing, even if the combination of cool and damp plays hell with my arthritis. My beloved has also been feeling the affects of “uncle Arthur” in recent times. He came in the door from work the other day, and I knew he was suffering. Friends, I have to tell you, this getting older is not for the faint of heart.
This year as winter approaches, I feel a particular urge to prepare to hunker down, and I’m not sure where that urge is coming from. There is so much uncertainty in the world, so many people afraid of so many things—a real sense that something bad is just around the corner. It almost seems as if this pessimism has become an infection, infiltrating our water and spreading into our air, a contamination that is quickly becoming a global pandemic. Such an almost palpable thing is this sense of impending doom, that it seems as if in the last couple of months, we’ve slipped back a few big paces on the societal-evolutionary scale.
There is a part of me that wants to run out into the woods, find a deep cave or dig a deep hole, and hibernate for the next few months. Or maybe I can settle for crawling into bed, pulling the blankets over my head, and sticking my thumb in my mouth. Why, oh why was I in such a darn rush to grow up, when I was a kid? I never knew just how good I had it. If only I could go back to the good old days…but of course I can’t. There is no going back to the good old days for anyone, and there are no do-overs in the real world.
It just goes to show you that no matter how deeply a person believes in maintaining optimism, the pull of the dark and the dank and the dangerous is very real, and very strong. Even the faithful feel the tug of fear, depression, and surrender. The difference, of course, lies not in what one may feel at any give moment, but in the choices one makes in the face of such emotions.
It is really hard to keep the faith and believe that everything will work out the way it’s meant to be when all the news is so darned dismal. Most of my energy is being used in this very endeavor—keeping the faith, and believing.
I decided to pull in a little, and instead of focusing on the big picture which, at the moment, seems to have gone “off station” a bit, I’m focusing instead on the little things.
First, and always, I count my blessings. Yes, you may hear strains of Bing Crosby singing that song from the movie, White Christmas—and by the way, do I ever miss musicals! But counting my blessings is important because it puts me in the only frame of mind that will see me through the tough times ahead. That attitude is gratitude, and if I fill myself up with being grateful for all the many blessings I have, there’s not much room left for negative thoughts to grow.
I have a roof over my head, and in case any of y’all think I live in one of those fancy houses, think again. Mine needs a lot of work, fortunately most of it cosmetic. Seriously, my living room ceiling looks like it wants to come down, but it’s looked that way since 2006. Some things are getting done, little by little, but as I said, we have a roof. We have four walls, and a working furnace, clean water coming out of the tap, and this house, such as it is, is mortgage free.
We have food in the cupboard and the freezer, and our bills are paid each month. There’s nothing “rich” about the way we live, except for our attitudes of gratitude.
So I am going to hunker down. I’m going to appreciate the heat that comforts me, the water that quenches my thirst, the food that sates my hunger—and the fellowship I find both live and online, a connection to others that if we let it, can sustain us all through the darkest of times.