Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By A. R. Vander Vegt
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

There's plenty to pass around

From the Editor


November 22, 2018

My heart needs a healthy dose of thankfulness.

When I look into my interior world, it matches that of the exterior — cold, dreary and overall pretty bleak. I could use a defibrillator to jumpstart my life right about now.

Enter Thanksgiving, stage left.

Wednesday nights, I help out at a kids’ club put on by my church. I work with the youngest age group, ages three to four and five. Because of Thanksgiving coming up, we had a special lesson and we had a craft which included tracing hands and naming things we were thankful for.

I asked one little boy two things he was thankful for to write on his traced hands. Earlier in the night he had answered with his older sister’s name, which was very sweet. This time he said, “My hands and ears.”

This boy is a little bit of a jokester. But he didn’t do his silly giggle after saying that, so I wrote out “hands” on one hand and “ears” on the other.

He didn’t say it to be profound or anything. Maybe it was a silly response, but I took his answer to heart.

Sometimes to cultivate thankfulness, we have to look at the facts, look at the practical things. I am breathing. That’s amazing. I inhale, and all the right things happen to make sure I get to release carbon dioxide — then it repeats. I have two strong legs. My nieces love being lifted by them like an airplane. Not to mention my arms. With them, I get to hug those girls, lift them, play tug-of-war with Inge, form comfortable support under my pillow at night, and countless other tasks that go unnoticed by my ever-occupied brain.

We live in a time full of pain — that pain is marketed and capitalized on all too often. But we also live in an exciting time. Maybe it’s naivete, but I feel compelled, especially this season, to find joy splitting through that pain. I’m thankful for medical advancements, for Hamilton, for movie theaters and their popcorn, for chocolate, for snail mail and sodoku puzzles, for technology that enables me to stay in touch with friends and family alike.

And then, suddenly, I’m swimming in a sea of thankfulness — and I’ve hardly gotten started on the immaterial things to be thankful for. That list could be endless.

Thankfulness is a little like being a cricket under a waterfall. I don’t know where that image came from or where I first heard it, but I remember talking about it with a friend. A cricket under a waterfall doesn’t know it’s under a waterfall — the barrage of water has simply become part of the background. How does a cricket even process being caught beneath the deluge?

Most of us are like crickets. There is so much to life in each moment it’s impossible to categorize or pigeonhole or even comprehend it as a gift. Most of us do not have to reach very far to find abundance. Our abundance will spoil if it’s left to ourselves, though. Even good things can go rotten.

This season, I hope I can share the abundance in my life. Lord knows there’s plenty to go around, if only I have the eyes to see it, to accept it, to give it away.


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