Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Living life from the pantry

I discovered a good place to count my blessings.

The pantry.

You guys, I was wandering around our new house thinking that I was hungry but I wasn't sure what for. I ended up in the pantry because that's where the food is (one can't stand in the refrigerator and this one who hates cold certainly can not). I wasn't seeing anything that struck my fancy. I thought something along the lines of,

"Hmph. All this food and nothing I want."

And then I looked around again, really looked, and thought,

"I am so incredibly ungrateful. I am standing in a pantry. A pantry, a room I've never had in any of the other houses I've lived in. A room dedicated to storing food. A room! How many people from around the world would be blown away by the amount of blessings right here in this room? Food. To cook. To eat. To nourish!"

Holy smokes.

Talk about blessed. Talk about cups runnething over. Ha, what a great word! An entire room dedicated to blessings.


Now I know where I can go when I'm feeling sorry for myself and need to snap out of it. I can go look around my pantry and count my blessings and give myself the mental smack I need to refocus on my amazing life instead of the fact that there are no chips.

We should bring back the pantry.

What's your pantry? How many blessings do you have in there, all inventoried and lined up and shoved in and heaping over?

Since I plan on being truly thankful by Thanksgiving, I'm going to be on the lookout for blessings. My life is full of them. Perhaps yours is, too. I'm betting it's fuller than you think.

It may not be that you have surplus food. Maybe money is tight this month or every month and you have a hard time making it to the end with enough to fill your appetites or the growing ones/ never-full ones of your children. Maybe you or a loved one has a chronic illness that limits the life you can live in very real ways. Maybe you haven't achieved what you set out to reach.

None of us are perfect, or even close. But our blessings far outweigh our burdens. Every morning there is a sunrise. Every evening there is a sunset. With a little imagination, we can see that our colorful world is amazing. Imagine if every bug was the same kind of bug, or there were only one type of tree or one kind of flower. Nature is filled with all different kinds of all of those. We're not stuck listening to the same birdsong. Heck, birds sing. They don't have to. They could just poop on the laundry and eat all the crops, but no, they add color and music to our lives.  The trees that are making incredibly huge messes right now with apples, pinecones, buckeyes, and walnuts are gorgeous with changing colors. Just take a minute, just 60 seconds, to watch the sun shining through them, or notice how the colors change if it's a gray day.

Perhaps if we all shift our perceptions with the shift in season, we'll find some of our overlooked blessings.

And no, I'm not going to want to hear this same lecture back at me once winter rolls around, but at least I'll try it. I'll try to relish the quietness of snow (at least something near my house is quiet, certainly none of the occupants are) and the differences in the angle of the sun, provided we see it ever. See? There was a conscious choice to be positive.

I'm going to try to take what I find in the pantry and pepper my life with it. If I'm to be salt and light, I need to have the right focus, which should not be on me.

In a few minutes, I have to go pick up our youngest blessing. He's had a full day already, and the big kids still have karate later, which means another trip in the car and back. I need the grace to deal with a tired out, "not tired, not sleepy, Mama" little guy in a way that isn't snappish or rough even though I, too, would love to skip the whole deal entirely and go to bed early. I'm going to choose to be a blessing to him and to be patient, to give us extra time to get everything done and the dinner we need and the snacks will also need and the books and the love and the laughter.

And if I can't? It'll be back to the pantry I go...