I will choose instead to be thankful

Published 7:24 pm Wednesday, November 14, 2018

It is early on Monday morning, and I am sitting at my desk watching the rain fall from darkened skies. The ground is completely covered in gold leaves, and the last remnants of green are slowly turning to brown.

I just painted a picture of gloom, right? Yes, it is a miserable weather day, but sometimes in life, we must look beyond the doom and find the light in humility. 

Before I came upstairs to my office this morning, I was watching the morning news and viewing the fires consuming California. Whole towns are wiped away, and the death toll is rising by the minute. The inferno is leaving nothing but ashes in its wake while its hellish horror illuminates an orange sky.

I could complain about the weather, but today I choose instead to be thankful for each raindrop falling on the golden ground.  If only California had this day.

Believe it or not, my house is decorated for Christmas. I spent the entire weekend putting up decorations and turning my home into its own little wonderland. Yes, I am early this year, but I needed to complete this task this weekend. Scheduling, book signings, visitors and family events are going to take up weekends from now until Christmas. 

By the time Sunday rolled around, my back was aching, and I thought if I had to open one more box of ornaments, I was going to call Christmas off!  It was an idle and silly thought since I love Christmas more than Santa Claus!

As I was cleaning up the mess I made, I investigated a box I thought I had emptied and found another Christmas ornament.  A seven-inch angel doll made of white silk, yellow yarn hair and stuffed little hands clasped in prayer was resting atop a mound of tissue paper.  

This little angel always topped our tree when the children were small.  She now is displayed every year in a prominent place where she brings back memories of Christmas decoration days when each child had a turn placing this sweet girl on top of our tree.

I could complain about my aching back, but today I choose to be thankful for having a house to turn into a winter wonderland as an angel reminds me to pray for those in California who no longer have a home.

I was getting ready to go to a birthday party the other night, and I was applying my makeup using a magnifying mirror. Since my eyes are not what they once were, and neither is my face, I decided to take a moment and feel sorry for myself as I watched a new wrinkle form while pouting.   

Where had the years gone? Why do we have to age in the first place?  Who is this person in the magnifying mirror? I was about to throw the mean mirror in the trash when it struck me that aging is a gift. If we survive to grow older, then we are blessed to be able to go to another birthday party, celebrate life with friends and watch our children reach maturity.

I could complain about my age, but today I choose to be thankful for the wrinkles and the years because I know there is a child in California as well as children all over the world who will never see another reflection or enjoy another birthday. 

When we watch tragedies unfold around us, it is a time to pause and let our hearts bleed for others. We all need to be humbled, put in our place and put our grumpy, complaining selves on a shelf for a while. As we approach the Holiday Season, we should all remind ourselves not to complain about the hustle and bustle of the season, but rather to be captured by the true spirit of being thankful, the true meaning of giving to others, and the awareness that humility will enrich our lives.

I watch the rain continue to fall in a steady stream from the warmth of my home as I clasp my old hands in prayer for those who simply ask for drops of rain.  

To donate to the victims of the fire raging in California here is a partial list of nonprofit organizations: American Red Cross, California Community Foundation’s Wildfire Relief Fund, California Fire Foundation, Caring Choices, Enloe Medical Center, United Way of Great Los Angeles, United Way of Northern California Salvation Army, Humane Society of Ventura County.