Saturday, December 03, 2005

Thank you!

Ahhhhh. Winter is back! and I get to engage in my favorite winter sport: Olympic Snow Blowing! Man, I just look for reasons to crank that puppy up. Before I started playing volleyball each week, snowblowing was my yearly heart healthy exercise. If my neighbor is out of town for a week and we have a snow storm? Yup. I'll snowblow their driveway before they get back in town so they don't have to battle it fresh off a trip. One of my neighbors is a single parent with fairly young kids, so I routinely do her driveway. Afterall, why should she have to come home from a hard day's work with two hungry kids and fight through a foot of snow just to get into her house, to work some more and get the kids fed, homeworked, and ready for bed? So that's a little I can do to make her life easier (single parents do it all, man... I know. I was one for almost 4 years when my youngest son was a baby.)

Olympic Snowblow Man to the rescue! Whatever excuse I can find to crank that puppy up. Why? you may ask. Good question! I haven't totally figured it out myself, except that I like using the snowblower, and I know the folks I help will appreciate that little -- or not so little, depending on how much snow it is -- gesture of kindness. And sometimes... I feel it's just my little way of saying thank you. Thanks for being a good neighbor, or maybe just thanks for not being a crappy neighbor! I don't know. All I know is that when I'm done helping like that, I may be a little tired -- because snowblowing *is* work, just not as much as shoveling! -- but after I help my neighbors, I feel good, so it's my little community service effort -- small as it is.

Along with winter -- and my snowblowing escapades -- comes the holiday season, and I generally do a lot of self evaluating during this time of year. I look back and see where I've been, what I've done, how far I've progressed -- or regressed, -- see who I've helped or hurt, and determine what and who there has been in my year the past year to be thankful for. This year has been a mixed bag for me. I've had some elated moments, some let downs, lost some old friends, made some new friends. But considering everything, as the year winds down and prepares to launch the adventure to be known as 2006 ... I have much to be thankful for.

First and foremost, I remain alive, healthy, fed, housed, employed and moving around by my own power. My family has remained healthy and housed, and no one has died this year. All 3 of my children have prospered in one way or another -- none of which required my direct intervention -- and most of my friends have also fared well. Two long-time friends in Biloxi / Gulfport, MS survived hurricane Katrina! One sustained relatively minor (considering) damage and has tidied things up. The other lost their house and most of their possessions, but lived to tell the incredible tale and continued on with a GREAT attitude, and are rebuilding their home and their lives. I am thankful for those miracles and for those friends.

Recently, I've also been thinking a bit about the effects and contributions of people who have entered my life but, for one reason or other, are no longer an integral part of it. A good example is the 15 year marriage to my ex-wife. During our time, she made indelible contributions to -- and impressions in -- my life, and many positive residuals remain. Many other people also touched my life from time to time who have also left positive residuals and made lasting impressions. Just because a relationship transitions doesn't mean the good that happened ceases to exist, even if it ends badly.

So, think back over your year -- or years -- at the people who once existed in your life who have transitioned away. Think about whether they gave you any smiles, or wisdom, or encouragement, or love, or gifts, or insights, or hugs... and if you can remember even one smile or other positive, say "thank you". You don't need to say it to them, because many times you have no clue where they are now. Just acknowledge it to yourself, and nod with a smile, and count yourself blessed to have such a memory to think back on.

So with this holiday season upon us, I share with you -- my friends -- an attitude of gratitude. For those of you who are still in my life, I thank you for the gifts you've given and continue to give me -- if only a smile or a word of encouragement. And for those who are no longer a part of my life, you may not ever see this note, but I'm sending my "thank you" to the cosmos! in the hopes that you'll feel the the energy surge! THANK YOU! for the good you contributed to my life!

Ahhhhhh. I feel so much better now :-D Let me go check on my snowblower... I might need to help somebody in the morning.

Have an awesome day, folks.