Friday, January 4, 2019

How a Simple Man and a Load of Free Mulch Changed Our Heart and View of 2019.



I have always believed that people come into your life for a reason.  Yesterday, a simple man working with a CEMC (electric) work crew gave me a jolt I needed to fire up my enthusiasm for this New Year. The day started with just simple chores. We had been talking how we needed to flag down the crew who have been cleaning up our local roads for some free mulch for our chicken yard that was pure mud with all our rain.  

About 8 am I looked out the window and the crew was in front of our house doing their job. I ran out to ask for some free mulch.  The man running the crew had a trimmed white beard,  looking a little like Santa should. His name was James and he looked older than his 57 years.  After awhile we went out to thank him and wish him and his crew a happy New Year.  It was then he began telling us about 2018 and his year.  He lost his mother, his father, his step father and three other relatives last year. He was helping out his uncle right now who was dying from 4th stage lung cancer and another couple of family members with meals while working hard out on our roads. Most of his family had high blood pressure, diabetes, and some cancer they were fighting. His family was being devastated by death and health problems....severe ones. All he wanted for this 2019 was a year without losing any more of his family. He was hurting so deeply from the recent losses. He felt shell shocked still.

We were both taken back  as he told us his story...most of his close family had died within 2 months of each other just before Christmas.  His grief was apparent and raw.  He impressed us both with his integrity and character. His devotion to his family was so beautiful.  He was a good man, you could tell.

They dropped their load eventually of wood chips and went on to another area of the backwoods.  The road crew moved on, but the impression James left us with will last forever.  I went in very sad for him. Then sometime later it hit me just how amazingly, remarkably  blessed we are. I know we are blessed but at times I have not focused on those blessings, as much as I should be. I said to myself and my husband, WOW, we have nothing to whine about. We lost his father last year, but our kids, my sisters, and children are in pretty good health. We are in good health for our age.  We are not fighting much in our health except some aches when we overdo things here on this property.  Our financial situation is so much better than the folks down the road who live in a mobile home that should be condemned. We have so much more than so many. 

Sometimes it takes a simple workman on a road crew to  really shock you into viewing your life with the full joy you should.  When I wrote into my gratitude journal last night, there was more enthusiasm. When I did the chores after they left, there was more joy.   We spent the rest of the day carting down mulch to the south forty where the chicken yard is which is hard work. Last night we were both hurting from the hours of work, but I realized at 67 and 72 that we were doing it, so that is a blessing. We can still keep this place going with the work it requires with the  steep terrain. Marty and I are on no medications and we don't need them. We aren't running back and forth to doctors every week. The rate of diabetes and cancer is high in this area. Many smoke here. The opioid addiction rates are super high. Every week we read in the paper about those who have died 20 years younger than we are with cancer. We had not appreciated our good health, with as much enthusiasm as we should have. Last year had dampened my joy and my positive attitude. Grief had colored my view on things. Grief had impacted my attitude toward our blessings. James really brought all of it into perspective. 

We have every reason in the world to be joyous.  For us, this year needs to be filled with joy leaving the grief of 2018 behind. His dad was 94, lived his life his way playing golf to the end, and is in a better place now free of leukemia and dementia.  There is a time for everything in life;  sowing, reaping, crying, new life and birth, and praising the good Lord for our blessings. 

If you are facing this year after a really hard year .......leave the pain behind. Leave the grief behind. Its time to go into this New Year with courage and joy.  Don't let another day go by.....without joy. We need to turn our outlook to others, not on our own deficiencies. 

There is one choice we all have in life...how we view the circumstances we are facing.  We can choose joy despite bad news, government shut downs, and  life that does not go as planned.  We all need to choose joy. 

Kate Freer, the herbladyisin

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