Monday, March 30, 2009

Phone Calls.

After Saturday's musings about working the night shift, Ben picked up on the theme of thankfulness, which is a close cousin to gratitude. The way I read the connotations, gratitude is almost always defined negatively. That is- we're mostly grateful for things we don't have to deal with. Like living in Gaza, having some god awful illness, being stuck homeless on the streets in some backwater slum in Pakistan, or- well you get the idea. It seems like we're most often grateful for the bad stuff that hasn't happened. Or that has happened. It's an all too common story- something that seems to be a dire misfortune turns out to have some great benefit hidden under the bullshit.

We're thankful, on the other hand, for the good stuff that we do have. Thankful to love someone. Thankful to put in a day's work. Thankful for a day of good health. Thankful for a decent camera, a cool bike.


Yesterday was one of those all day gray fests. Mary rented the Prince Caspian movie. Very enjoyable. I barbequed a steak, and we had a salad with almost no lettuce, because it was mostly avocado, and roma tomato.

See- more stuff to be thankful for. After dinner we did as we always do- came back to the den. Mary reads on the futon, and I start blipping through the various stops in the Coonosphere, and then make the rounds through the other fun places: Lileks, Vanderleun, Hewitt, Robot Japan, and the weather. Then Mary does her prayers, and that's when the phone rang. It was Mary's friend, Michelle from the Buddhist group. She, and her husband were at our wedding, well- what do you expect? We had a Buddhist wedding at the SGI community center, and all of Mary's Buddhist friends were there. And after the ceremony, Mary's friend Irene, and her brother, Charlie held the reception for us at Irene's house. Charlie drove me to the ceremony. And that's why Mary's friend, Michelle was calling. Charlie died last night. Cancer. Last October, his complaint was a sore knee. He was a genuinely good man. Mary called a few other friends, and then we went to bed, and I held on to her. And she held on to me. Grateful to be here. Thankful that my Mary is here with me.

The phone rang again at 6:30 this morning. The boss needed someone to cover the day shift. Right now. Would I rather do that instead of working late tonight at Stephen King Elementary?



walt said...

Encounters and brushes with Death have a knack for re-ordering our values, and heightening our sense of Time-passing.

Cap'n Ben has taught me a lot about thankfulness and gratitude.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

My condolences John.

It hurts to lose a good friend, especially sooner than you might expect.
To be thankful during the most trying times makes us more human, I think and easier tobe free.

I used to think it was somewhat paradoxal to feel grief and thanks simultaneously, but grief is easier to bear with gratitude for our friends that have gone ahead and await us. God bless you all.

QP said...

Ben's already said it better than I could; for which
I am grateful. My sympathies John and Mary. I'm glad you have each other too.