Cold but not complaining

The real Minnesota winter reportedly arrives tonight. We’ve been spoiled so far. There’s a small amount of snow on the ground, but for the most part, temperatures have been pretty bearable ever since summer ended. That all ends today and it’s all they’ve talked about on the news these past few days. Especially as this weather relates to a pretty important football game which takes place here tomorrow. In an outdoor stadium. Where the high might reach 4. I’m glad I’m not a football fan but there are plenty of die-hards who are braving the weather to support the Vikings this weekend!

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The first post-holiday week of 2016 has gone by already. Can you believe that? I was worried it would seem interminable, considering I probably haven’t worked a full week since the beginning of December and having long weekend at home felt so nice the last two weeks. But it was a really great week. There is forward movement in my job and in my department, and it’s all very positive, team-oriented and exciting. More important than the inner workings and perks of my job though, I was reminded several times why I love not just what I do, but where I do it. And it has so much to do with the people who surround me.

I’ve been employed in this job long enough to have made some deep connections, and I thank God everyday for this. One of these connections is with C. On a professional level, she alternately either drives me crazy with the way her mind and priorities race from one thing to another, or feels like my closest ally. But no matter how annoyed I might sometimes feel, I admire her passion, drive and perseverance, and I often aspire to be more like her. In the past year, our common life circumstances drew us closer on a more personal level. C’s mom suffered and survived a massive stroke early last year and will never make a full recovery. You can imagine the repercussions.

Yesterday, I stopped in to C’s office to get some background on a particular project. After confirming the necessary details, I asked, “How’s your mom?”

C told me her mom was holding steady and that their holidays were enjoyable. She then shared that she came into the new year with a new perspective. Gratefulness. She said that all last year, she faced each day with an attitude of getting past certain circumstances  so that she could get back to a more comfortable and normal life. She told me that before the stroke, her mom was her best friend. C called her every day to talk about what was good, what was challenging, and what was ahead. After the stroke, those deep conversations with her mom were no longer possible. This was such a huge loss, and so devastating for C. But since then, she has developed a stronger relationship with her dad. It’s Dad with whom she talks every day. And they never hang up the phone without saying “I love you.”

I knew exactly what she meant. This stuff changes you. Now that my dad is gone, I can’t leave my mom without hugging her and telling her “I love you.” In recent years, that’s not been uncommon, but these days, our I love yous aren’t trite like they may have been in the past. Both the hugs and the words these days are deep and sincere. I often feel a tug on my heart at having to leave Mom’s side, even though I know I’ll probably see her again the next day.

C said that starting this year, she will try to embrace each day, not just try to get through it and on to something that feels easier. She said she has realized that such devastating circumstances have provided unexpected grace and blessings. She was crying by this time and telling me what a blessing I have been to her in the time we’ve shared such similar circumstances. What was meant to be a quick, professional visit to her office ended with tears and hugging. I said to her, “Don’t cry,” and she replied, “No, it’s okay. This is a good cry.”

She showed me a little journal that has become a part of her new goals. It’s a gratitude journal, and every day, she writes down three things for which she is grateful. She said she would be writing about me in her journal that evening.

I am inspired by C’s attitude of gratitude. For the past few years, I myself have worked towards recognizing and being more appreciative of all that is good in my life. But I have been inconsistent in actually documenting it. I like the idea and am going to try to do so on a more frequent … dare I say daily? …basis.

Well … I’ve got to start somewhere, sometime. Therefore …

  1. C – This one’s a little obvious, but I am grateful to have C in my world. Instead of feeling as if I’d hit the doldrums and dreariness typical of this time of year, she inspired me to rise above them and look forward to each day. She reminded me that even work doesn’t need to make us feel as if we’re going through the motions. There might be a gift inside each and every moment. But we have to look.
  2. Jack’s work schedule – While I’m often annoyed at how my husband’s job often keeps him away on nights and weekends, it allows me guilt-free time to be with my mom. This week, on a night I might otherwise have been eating frozen pizza alone at home, I instead cooked a walleye dinner and shared it with my mom. It was a nice change of pace.
  3. Heated seats – A genius invention. They make me feel spoiled, but I love the fact that even on the coldest day, I can get into my car and feel instant warmth!
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16 thoughts on “Cold but not complaining

  1. We, too, have had a warmer-than-normal winter thus far, so I suppose the “snow crazies” are due their turn! I’m trying to get the running-around errands finished early so I can curl up with a good book and let the weather happen! Love your idea of a gratitude journal — that’s an attitude we ALL should be cultivating. You’re blessed to have a colleague like C. who can walk with you through the tough times.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Perhaps the winter months won’t seem so endless, Debbie., since we’ve had such a delayed start. But I have a feeling we’ll still be more than ready when spring rolls around.

      I’m going to really try to keep a gratitude journal, as C is doing. I can always use a little more “positive” in my life.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Gratitude IS a good thing to focus on…and easy to not do. Especially as I get older I try to stay aware of all the little things that I have and take for granted that others would think are really big…like hot running water and clean running water. I find that going into that hot shower first thing in the morning feeling the pleasure of the warm water instantly reminds be to say thank you which is not a bad way to start the day.

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    • I think you’re right, de-I. Lately, I recognize when I feel grateful for a person or situation. But I think it’s so easily forgotten when anything becomes difficult. I’m hoping the process of writing it down will help create a more steady sense that overall, I am very fortunate and blessed.

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  3. My mom is a single mother after my father death in 2000. I live some 2 km away from her, yet I know she is an independent woman and have stuff to do to keep herself busy.
    And I never fail to come if she asked me too.
    I remember a saying that goes, people come and go but you only have one mother…

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    • I’m sorry for the loss of your father Ramzu. It sounds like your mom takes pretty good care of herself, but I’m sure she appreciates having you there when she needs you.

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  4. With the temps I am seeing up there today, I am not going to complain about our “frosty” temps down here. You guys would probably be out in short sleeves.

    It is good that you have C to help encourage you at this time. Sometimes we need a sympathetic ear at work as well as home. The sad fact is that all of us have either faced this situation or are facing it in the future. I like your approach – be grateful for the time you have, hold the ones you love close, savor the moment. And a thousand blessings for person who invented heated seats.

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    • You can complain about your weather, Agg. It’s all a matter of what your “normal” is. 🙂

      My whole perspective onlife has changed since my dad’s passing. I try to deal with one day at a time, and I no longer assume that tomorrow will be as I expect.

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  5. Your outside looks a lot like our outside. I keep saying I don’t need heated seats, but they’re sounding pretty good ’bout now!

    I’m glad you have C to commiserate with. After my mom’s stroke, I couldn’t talk to her on the phone anymore, and it was hard. It did bring me closer to my dad, though. I was wondering how your mom’s been since your dad’s passing. But I know you’re there for her.

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    • I know it was SO hard to have your mom still “here” but not be able to talk to her. Such a painful journey, but we learn a lot through it all, don’t we?

      My mom has been doing alright… thanks for asking! She manages pretty well on her own in the house, just needs help with meals. She can handle breakfast and lunch and keeps that pretty simple, but my sister and make sure she has a good dinner every night. I also want to get her signed up for Meals on Wheels a couple of days a week, just to take some of the pressure off everyone.

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  6. A moving post. Yep, I’m bracing for my first experience of below zero temps since my husband and I were dating more than 30 years ago. Yikes. I don’t know what’s worse, the temps or how much time has passed.

    Anyway, I’m curious, but you don’t have to answer if you’d rather not. Did your mom go ahead and move into the assisted living since your dad passed?

    My mom is suffering with a lot of serious illnesses, and one of them will likely take her life. She is battling bladder cancer at present. Being able to see her more than once or twice a year now is so important to me. The temperature be damned. Being grateful to be near family again is an understatement. I’m overjoyed and over the moon with happiness.

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    • My mom decided not to move to assisted living after all, and she is doing pretty well on her own. She just needs help with meals, and my sister and I tag-team to make sure she has a decent dinner each night.

      I’m sorry for your mom’s health issues, Lori. It’s SO hard to see our parents going downhill, but I’m glad you are close enough now to spend lots of time with her. You are both in my prayers.

      Liked by 1 person

      • BTW, I meant to tell you that my MIL has had failing health along with my FIL before he died recently (in October). But, since she hasn’t had to take care of him, her health has improved. Of course, she’s 83 and isn’t healed, but she had completely neglected her own health in taking care of him. Now, without the stress, she can focus on her own health and it’s helping. Perhaps your mom’s health will improve some and stabilize, too.

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  7. I try to be grateful too, but it seems like I am usually thankful for the same things. Your post is a good reminder to look for other things to thank the Lord for everyday!

    I’m not that much of a sports fan either, but I did watch the Vikings game on Sunday and was so sad to see our team lose. I’m grateful I watched it from the comfort of our family room and not in the freezing stadium!

    I bet having a journal will spark your imagination for many future blog posts too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well … so far I’ve failed miserably in keeping my journal! I’m good at thinking about what I’m grateful for, but just haven’t managed to write those things down. Reading your comment is a good reminder to keep trying!

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      • I know how you feel! I made a list of writing goals for the year, and I haven’t been keeping those very well either! I haven’t felt very motivated, but I am hoping to change my mood soon. 🙂

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