The heartache and destruction left by Hurricane Katrina, which struck the Gulf Coast in September 2005, have made me keenly aware of how quickly our lives can be shattered by nature. Most communities deal with some level of weather-related problems every year. Several states are trying to prepare for future earthquakes. But this hurricane showed us how vulnerable we are to forces beyond our control.
The refugees told of what they missed most; relatives, friends, and privacy were at the top of a long list. When a teenage boy said, "I miss seeing grass," I was reminded of many wonderful blessings from God that I take for granted.
Because of a health condition, I am limited in movement. Watching a grandmother lean over and pick up her grandchild or seeing someone jogging or dashing up a flight of stairs reminds me of how many activities are no longer possible for me to enjoy. A person seldom considers these little everyday events as blessings, but when someone has lost the ability to do them, one has a different perspective.
That teenager had probably not given grass a thought until it was under water and mud. There are countless things a person does not consider until they are gone. Some of those commonplace things are:
Hearing the first birds of spring welcoming a new season.
A night sky filled with stars.
Taking a walk in the woods.
The fragrance of freshly picked tomatoes.
The privilege of going wherever and whenever we want.
Hearing happiness in a loved-one's voice.
Retirement has allowed me time to notice how many small things I did not take time to appreciate when raising my children, working, and caring for an elderly parent. The morning sun streaming through my living room window, sitting on my patio and reading, the fragrance of pine trees, and the sound of leaves rustling in the breeze--all these bless me now.
One elderly woman told me how she learned to be thankful for the small things, such as having a cookie with her afternoon coffee, enjoying the texture of fabric while sewing, and picking out yarn for her next crocheting project. She was content with a very simple and restricted lifestyle.
Our finances may be limited and our health impaired, but the Lord can teach us to recognize His love in the simple things of life. Let us see each day with new eyes and praise God for the many small blessings that He has showered upon us.