Friday, October 07, 2011

Thanks Giving on Wheels

(Image of a turkey holding a Canadian flag with the words 'Happy Thanksgiving, eh!' printed beside the turkey. Turkey looks happy, probably because this blogger is vegetarian)

Today, officially, will begin Thanksgiving Weekend.

It's a holiday that, to me, is an important one. As someone who tends to depression and tends to a bleak world view, I need to be reminded to stop, think, and be grateful. Many who know me find it difficult to see the effort it takes to keep the darkness of depression from o'ertaking me - possibility because early in my life the little children's song 'Count Your Blessings' caught my imagination. I struggle, always, to see the other side of situations - a tactic that, for me, has literally been life saving. The lyrics of that song - I bet anyone who knows it will immediately start humming, confused me and inspired me all at the same time:

When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.
I didn't know what 'life's billows' were and I didn't know that they could be 'tempest tossed'. But I did understand the idea of counting blessings, naming them, 'one by one'. And I always found the song to be right, I was indeed surprised. Even very young I was a bit of a cynic, I wasn't sure that God really had a master plan that necessitated me being born in Sundre Alberta. I figure that would take 'micro managing' to an outrageous level, so I didn't ever buy that. But I did understand that I needed to take notice of the subtlety with which goodness presented itself to me. Pain is louder than pleasure .... AAARRRRGGGGHHHHH!!!! as it compares to mmmmmmmmmmmm. Hatred, with it's rea face, throbbing veins and sweaty forehead - calls attention to itself in ways that love never can - at least in the world of a child.
I remember, one Sunday, home from church, humming the tune and thinking about blessings. I remember the feeling giving way to one of intense loneliness. I remember lying back on my bed with the upstairs window open. I remember the far off sound of a lawn mower. I remember, moments later, the scent of fresh grass filling the room. It was like being visited by pleasure. It was like, hell I'll just say it, God dropping by. Blessings. I have many. I experience more. I am well and truly thankful - but only when I remember to be.
So, I have decided to make this a Thanksgiving weekend. Every day through Thanksgiving Monday, I'm going to write about things I'm thankful for ... and I'm going to give myself the challenge of making all these things, those that relate to disability itself - my experience of the last five years. What I'm grateful for ... what gifts my disability has given me. Not one post for several days about dealing with stares and glares, inaccessibility and inhospitable attitudes, not even a 'whine or moan'.
For four days, it will be an attitude of gratitude from me.
I'm afraid I'll pull a muscles from the effort it is going to take, but hey, I'm in a wheelchair - who cares?


theknapper said...

Think we all could contemplate being thankful.Here's a couple of mine....
Today I had dinner with a long time dear friend who is always real....she is such a gift in my life.
My mom in her 80's has made her amazing pumpkin pie, a recipee from McCall's magazine in the 1950's....perfection!

Anonymous said...

There are always things I am thankful for: a day without pain or breathing difficulties.

Yesterday I was thankful to be so welcomed by my doctors office. They give gummybears or fruit-flavoured dextrose to children. (I am still at a childrens doctor even at the age of 37 because I am a long-time surviver of congenital heart disease.) I specially like banana dextrose so my doctor made his helper collect all the banana sugars from the big bag just for me.

I am thankful to be welcomed like that.


Joyfulgirl said...

Sounds wonderful! Looking forward to the posts. Happy thanksgiving weekend.

Colleen said...

Happy Thanksgiving Dave and Joe! One of the things I am thankful for is your work. Over the time I have been reading your blog I have come to know that it is not easy for you to do this work. But I am thankful that you are willing to give so much of yourself to do it and that you have each other because I don't think someone could do this alone. How can you ever know what a difference your work makes? The results of your work happen sometimes in private places and perhaps can be counted by what doesn't happen to someone or by someone taking the time to think before they say or do something hurtful to someone else or by someone standing up to a bully or by someone telling what happened to them and beginning the journey of healing. You two are blessings that I count.

Nan said...

I am thankful to be reading this post, to have work to take a break from, to have family to make me take a break, to have pumpkin pie to bake and a real market to go to to buy gourds, and for being a mom and for having a mom. I am grateful.

Princeton Posse said...

Thanks Dave. Happy Thanksgiving to you and Joe!

Claire said...

Happy Thanksgiving Weekend! I hope everyone is well.

ms k said...

as a lifetime USAian, it always makes me blink for a second to remember that Canadian Thanksgiving falls in october. but no, it makes *sense* because last harvest is going to be sooner north of me. well, duh, sillyness! of course!

Happy Thanksgiving, Dave, and to all your family and loved ones, too.

i'm thankful that the herd of elephants (three little girls under school age) and their bowlingball-juggling parents finally settle down at midnight and the noise ceases. i'm further thankful that we're househunting. ;)