The window of the burned house now displayed a large piece of particle board over the upper window. I wondered why someone would put it there. The entire house, since the fire, was just a shell. It came to me that someone might be living there. It would give shelter, but that was about it. I imagined a homeless person seeing it as home. They walk in and as we would take off our coat upon entering, they left theirs on. As we would jump in a hot shower to wash away the day and freshen up for the night, they would pull their coat tight and sit in their dirty clothes just grateful to be out of the wind or whatever precipitation the winter may be sending out.
I hear a lot of complaining from people that I work with and people that I live with. I guess it is just people in general. They grumble about the weather, the state of the country, the politicians, their pay, the food they are served at restaurants, the traffic, the lack of this and the too much of that. I am not above it. I find myself grumbling because I have to get out of bed for work. Grumbling about being bored with my work. Grumbling about the color of my kitchen cabinets or the height of my living room ceilings. Yet when I saw that house, a former stately structure full of history, now just a shell and a memory of what was, and think of the new inhabitants, I am reminded of all I have to be grateful for.
The temperature won’t rise above twenty-two, and the wind chill factor will be well below that, but as I sit in my office, the temperature kept at a steady seventy-two degrees, I try not to take it all for granted.
It seems to be a theme that I keep coming back to. Gratitude as an attitude. Yet I wonder – would any improvements ever be made to anyone’s circumstance if they did not long for more? If the homeless man or woman cannot or does not dream of a roaring fire and insulated well- sealed walls and windows, will he/she ever find the motivation to get a job and build that home or buy that house?
I guess it doesn’t matter what your circumstances are, they can always be worse. And that being said, they can always be better.
It seems that there has to be some balance. One cannot dwell in the land of the have not – whining about how bad things are all the time or that is where one will always find his or her self; in the land of have not.
The saying is, “Bloom where you are planted.” But I believe that dreams are the fertilization that keep us reaching and growing, as long as we don’t grow resentful or blame others for the lack of their fulfillment. I think gratitude is the base. No matter who you are or where you are, there is much to be grateful for, but it doesn’t mean you have to stay where you are.
So as you stand beside the fence looking over, I guess the key is to not forget to look around at the beauty surrounding you and right within you, because if you can’t see the blessings that have already been bestowed upon you, you probably won’t notice if new blessings come your way.