Well, today I am going to be the venerable Garden Sage. It's the Fourth of July, and my brother, on his Facebook status update, admonished me (and a few other friends and family) to count our blessings. So, in my normal fashion, the first thing I did was look up the definition:
blessing: a beneficial thing for which one is grateful; something that brings well-being : great intelligence can be a curse as well as a blessing | it's a blessing we're alive.Oh, okay. That's not so easy to do, though. How do I count my blessings, the things for which I am grateful? Let me give it a try:
(1) My health and relative intelligence. I say relative, because there will always be people more or less intelligent than me, with more brain power and abilities, but I have enough to get by on, and it flavors all the rest. And the health part is presently adequate to play and walk and get my blood flowing.
(2) My family and friends. Sometimes I think we take this for granted. But when I think what my life would be like without my trusted partner, or my siblings and extended family, I shudder to imagine how bereft and lonely my life would be.
(3) Where I live. Every day I am reading about people in the southwest baking in the unremitting heat, and the people in the northeast drowning in the rain. And here I am in the Pacific Northwest, it's 75 degrees outside, sunny, and tonight I'm going to walk a half mile down to Bellingham Bay and watch the fireworks over the water. And our humble apartment might not make everyone happy, but it's more than enough for us.
(4) My eyesight. We take for granted that we can see to go places, see to read books, and see to blog on the internet. But recently, when I learned I have beginning age-related macular degeneration, it suddenly gave me a new appreciation for how much being able to see brings into my life.
(5) An adequate income. This has become a problem for so many people around the world today that I cannot help but be thankful for our two income streams: social security and the annuities accrued during my years at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. It's much less today than it was this time last year, but it is enough, and though we will never be wealthy, I give thanks for my husband's foresight every day. If it had been up to me, we would have much less to live on.
(6) Social networking websites. Facebook and Blogspot have become a very important part of my life, because I am connected to all my old friends, as well as my new ones. I am also fortunate to have more than a dozen family members who I can vicariously visit.
(7) Skydiving. This activity came into my life accidentally two decades ago, and through it I met my husband, became an instructor, and have numerous friends around the world who know what it means to "get your knees in the breeze." After more than 64 hours of accumulated freefall time, I can hardly imagine my life without it. As I am aging, I am skydiving less, but still skydiving.
I have two superstitions related to skydiving. On the way to the Drop Zone, I thank God for all my blessings, for my husband, for skydiving, and practice my emergency procedures. I also wear the same earrings I had on for the first jump more than 4,000 times ago, each time I go out to jump. I know they are not the things that keep me safe. In skydiving, you can do everything right and still die. But this is also true for anyone who walks out the door to go shopping.
And you, dear reader. You have become a very important part of my daily existence. I sit down at my computer these days, and the first thing I do is check to see if anyone has left me a message. You are my larger world, my wider connection to Life. I am so grateful to have found you.