I feel bad that I only made it through 3 things I am grateful for in last week’s post. Last Monday night, I found myself thinking about this while I was sitting in a running mini-van with the brights on, pointed down railroad tracks.
I watched my husband disappear from sight with my window cracked in spite of the cold, listening in case he was attacked. He headed beyond the reach of the headlights to an abandoned homeless camp in search of an abandoned dog.
A homeless couple we often see in the park had recently disappeared. Supposedly, the man was arrested and the woman found a job and is living in a motel. Rumor has it they left their dog behind.
With temperatures dropping into the low 20’s and arctic winds making it feel like the teens, my husband was determined to rescue this dog. It was his second of 3 trips down the railroad tracks–so far, no sign of the dog.
How can I not feel gratitude for having the kind of man in my life who is both brave enough and compassionate enough to wander into potential danger to save the life of a dog?
I should mention that this couple has always seemed both lucid and happy. We are under the impression they have chosen a homeless life for their own reasons and that they are capable of choosing a different course. The dog, however, has no choice.
And so, I sat in the van on that cold night poignantly aware that I have much to be thankful for: a reliable vehicle kicking out hot air; my own cuddly dog, healthy and happy beside me; a husband both strong and gentle; a hot meal to return home to; a comfortable bed to sleep in; hot running water; the list goes on and on.
But in the end, it’s the people who have been part of my life and/or who are part of my life now that I am the most grateful for (and yes, I include animals when I say “people”). While mountains, clouds, and oceans provide much needed respite from time to time, it’s the people that keep me going day in and day out.
From passing acquaintances that make me laugh in the middle of a tense moment to friends who know me well enough to ask the most pertinent questions that allow me to see a situation in a new way, I don’t know what life would be without all of them. Even the strangers who fail to acknowledge my “hello” remind me that I have been there, making me feel connected to them in an odd sort of way.
The people who ultimately made all of this gratitude possible are, of course, my parents. I am grateful they were flawed human beings who made remarkable parents. Of course, I didn’t think they were remarkable when I was growing up. I’m also grateful that perspective changes. 🙂