An Attitude of Gratitude

To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant,

to enact gratitude is generous and noble,

but to live gratitude is to touch Heaven

~ Johannes A. Gaertner

I really do try to always be grateful for the many wonderful things and people I (we) are lucky enough to have in this life. I have been to, and seen on TV, places where those things that we so take for granted are just not that easy to come by. I know that even when things seem really hard, the truth is that we are FAR above subsistence living  and it does a world of good to remember it. So here is a list of some “things” I’m grateful for. I’m going to leave family and friends off because I think it (almost) goes without saying that I’m grateful for/to them.

1. Water

In a class last year I watched a video about a woman in Africa who walks to a river at least once every day to get a jug or bucket of water. That river is about 5 miles from her home. The film was about efforts to install a well in the village nearby. They asked her what she would do if she didn’t have to walk all that way to get water every day. She just said she would be able to do more for her family. Because when she isn’t fetching water, she is helping her husband with the farming and she would have more time for that. Easy access to relatively clean water is the norm here. Many places it is the exception. Two years ago we had a terrible cold snap that froze the water in our area for several days. Having to find a way to fetch water for 3 people, a dog, and 5 horses was challenging, to say the least. Even in town all of the outside spigots were frozen or shut down for the winter. It was seriously too cold to fetch water from the reservoir or river safely, health risks aside. That was a great reminder of how lucky we are in our day to day lives. Also, when you rely on, and take for granted, these conveniences, you often neglect to have a system in place for when they fail.

2.Shelter

In these tough times, where people are losing their jobs and homes, homelessness is definitely on the rise. Having even basic protection from the elements is something that I think we really take for granted unless we don’t have it. Having spent some time in between addresses in my life, I try to keep perspective on how very lucky we are. Not only do we own our home, but we own a little bit of land around it. Some people don’t even have a van or truck with camper to live in like I did in my more nomadic youth. My computer tells me that it’s 28 degrees outside as I write this. I am so grateful for this shelter.

3.Food

I believe in and support gardening and farming, but I am soooo grateful that I don’t have to do it myself in order to eat. Easy, convenient access to food is truly something to be very grateful for. Even if you don’t have a lot of money, food stamps and food banks here make it relatively easy to keep yourself from starving. There are many places that it is not. My husband is a hunter and I’m happy to know that our lives do not depend on whether or not he succeeds at his hunt. The time, effort, and money spent each year for him to hunt once or twice is quite significant. (Though I’ll admit it could be done for less money 🙂 the time and effort would no doubt be the same or similar.)

4.Electricity and Heat

These are in the same category together because for us right now, they are the same thing. We are planning to put in a wood stove soon, but for now we are reliant on electricity for heat. It gets pretty cold if the power goes out in the winter. Also on our electric system: lights, stove, refrigeration, hot water and much entertainment. I have to say that I turn into an idiot when the power goes out. Much like with the water, not having a backup plan in place when the usual system fails can be very difficult. (We actually have a lot of camping gear and such so we can make do pretty well in the event of a catastrophic power failure.) When we do get our wood stove in, the gathering and procurement of wood becomes another issue. But, at least you have a source of heat and a place to boil water/cook inside.

5.Indoor Plumbing

‘Nuff said.

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