Sometimes I wonder what I’m going to write about when I sit down at the keyboard each night before bed, and then I realize how silly I am for not knowing.
After all, it’s a blog about something I’m grateful for each day, so is it really that hard to find something?
There are little elements in each hour of every day that call out to be noticed. They’re put in front of us to be seen — but often times we don’t consider that there’s a reason and, if we do, sometimes we’re too busy to really give it proper thought.
Maybe we observe something because we’re supposed to take action, to do things differently, to make a complete U-turn in life or to practice patience.
Maybe we see a situation so that we can see ourselves in it and wonder what we would’ve done, how we would’ve behaved or what we would’ve said.
Or maybe it’s just so we can take pause and think of all that we have.
On my way to work this morning, I saw a man driving a rickety tow truck. The lettering on the side was nothing more than those stick-on letters from a store, and they were applied crookedly. The truck — a lopsided, 1970s Chevy — looked like it used to be his own, and like it perhaps was turned into its current state when the economy took a nosedive. The man inside looked a little beat down; maybe he was doing his best just to find new ways to make a buck. It certainly looked that way.
This evening on my drive home, I saw a woman and her three kids walking on the sidewalk along a busy street. She was carrying one who was about a year old, and the other two — maybe four and five years old — were holding hands and dutifully walking next to her. I wondered if they had a car, or if maybe it was in the shop getting fixed. I wondered if she had a husband; if she did, maybe he used it to get to work. I wondered about the children. Were they used to walking on such a busy street? Did they have far to go? Were they going to be able to eat dinner tonight, and would they each have their own bed? Maybe they would share a bed because space was limited. Or maybe there was no need to wonder at all, and they were simply walking.
A bit further down, I saw a woman riding a bicycle. Her clothing was dirty, and she was traveling with something in a plastic grocery bag that dangled from one of the handlebars. She was squinting in the bright, setting sun, and working hard to pedal. She reached the signal and had to stop for traffic, and I couldn’t help but notice how defeated she looked. But she kept riding when the light told her to go.
Close to home, I saw a man that I’ve seen before. He stands on a center island in the middle of busy intersections with his cardboard sign and, because I’m sure he’s aware of the various things that go through the minds of passersby, has decided to make his sign one of the more unique ones I’ve seen: “Please help. Need fuel for Learjet. God Bless.” It’s funny to those who see it, as I’ve noticed people asking him about it and laughing with him on more than one occasion. He’s gotten a dollar here and there just because people like it so much. I wonder if he has someplace that he retreats to each evening, or if he calls whatever bus stop bench that happens to be available “home.” I wonder, appalling as it might seem, if maybe he’s doing it for fun. Maybe he has a home, maybe he’s retired. Maybe he’s out to see what direction we as a people are heading in. Maybe it’s an experiment happening right in the middle of busy, bustling, too-important, too-busy, gotta-make-more-money humanity. Maybe the joke’s on us.
But probably not.
Tonight as I was wondering what I was thankful for, I had only to look back on a single day and find multiple answers: for a job, for transportation, for driving home in a relatively speedy manner each night and arriving at a house where I can eat a simple meal in comfort and peace, and rest each night on a bed that — while I wonder if my back popping lately is a result of it, or just of age — is likely more bed than each of the people I’ve mentioned will see tonight.