I’m not a very good waiter. And I don’t mean the food-restaurant type. I am not as patient as I’d like to be. So I understand (keenly) the frustration of those who may have lost their homes in the Fourmile Canyon Fire, as it’s becoming known. They have already been displaced for several days. They don’t know if they will have a home to come back to. They’re essentially in limbo. Waiting.
Each time a newly refilled slurry plane flies over my house carrying the fire-retardant to the fire, I am thankful that I have a home that I can come home to, and I can water my vegetable garden with a hose in my backyard as the planes fly low overhead and there are no flames destroying my landscape.
I’m grateful I am not waiting to hear if my home is one of the 136 that have burned so far . . . that I will wake up in my own bed in the morning, that my children will be able to pick out an outfit from their closets to wear without running to the store, that I can wash those outfits at home instead of a laundromat, that I can pack their lunches from my kitchen . . . the things I take for granted and probably grump about, are the things that my displaced friends are wishing they had right now.
In fact, I feel a little guilty that things are so normal for me when their lives are being turned upside down — their lives are changing so rapidly, and mine is chugging along. It’s both awful, and it’s okay: awful for them, and okay for me to not be in such drastic change at this point in time, since I’ve been in tough places before.
But not okay if I can’t appreciate and be grateful for where I am.
I’ve read that if you can be thankful for simple things when life is hard for you, it helps you make it through. If you can shift your perspective to gratitude for what you do have, you build your resiliency when times are tough. Gratitude for what you have should become a habit, and not just when others are in such dire straits that it becomes obvious that you should be grateful that you aren’t.
And in a small way, it makes me feel less guilty when I appreciate what I have. It seems to increase my empathy for those who are waiting to find out what they have left to be grateful for.