Thursday, August 23, 2012

thankful thursday's simple gratitude

welcome to another edition of thankful thursday!

today's gratitude may seem trite or simple compared to some of my past craziness.   but yesterday i realized how it had preserved my insanity in a time when being sane would have surly been my undoing.   today i can only be grateful for the divine gift of gratitude.

when we moved to germany, it was not planned or organised.    we ended up staying with my husband's father and brother.   this was unpleasant.   that's all i can say about it, it was just unpleasant.

some friends saw our predicament and let us use their  travel trailer instead.   that was august 24th, 2011.   there is a lake nearby where you can park your travel trailer and camp.   there is a building for showers and washing machines, sinks for washing dishes, and a place to empty waste water from the trailer.   it's like the camping places in the u.s. but bigger, by a lake, and there are also permanent places that you can get into.   people dress up their plots with fences and bushes and grass.   it's the home away from home.   it's a really great set up.

it was wonderful for the first few months we stayed there.   we went swimming everyday.   we were free to cook and wash and do as we pleased.   we are extraordinarily grateful to the people who lent us their trailer and the opportunity to get out of the situation we had been in.  

as the months wore on, our five large family was still in our 5 meter x 6 meter trailer.    the months got colder and things got tighter.   we were less able to go outside.   the walk to the shower got colder.   Christmas was coming and we hoped for a house but things looked less and less likely.    we were still grateful for every little thing, every thing we had.   i was able to find some shelving and a few things to help out with the storage of everything we owned in a travel trailer.

we met some people there and became friends.   one of our friends was able to buy a permanent place and sold us his old trailer so we could give back the one we had borrowed.

the "new to us" trailer was smaller inside but had a larger and thicker fore-tent.   the fore-tent also had a solid floor and came with a larger fridge and bigger stove.   they gave us the storage cabinets they had as well.   the kids beds were larger and more enclosed so that they felt like they had "rooms".   they had more room to keep their stuff and more privacy.   it was a huge blessing!   we moved into our new trailer on dec. 3rd, 2011.   we were grateful for the opportunity to buy our own trailer, the room, the warmth of a floor and thicker tent, and the storage space.   i was grateful for my husband being so handy and making what we had into what we needed.   i was grateful that we were able to find some more storage cabinets and fit everything into the space we had.

we decorated for Christmas with paper snowflakes, a tiny tree i found, some candy wrappers folded into butterflies, and anything else we could find.   i decided that i needed a nativity so we made one from salt and flour dough clay.   i remember people asking if we were ok  and asking how we could be ok living like this.   i didn't understand.   it wasn't the best but it was fine.   we were together.   we had a place to live, warmth, food.   we had bought a tv and dvd player so we could watch movies and i was listening to tv to help me learn the language.   i had picked up some plants and the neighborhood cat was hanging out with us.  both things that are a comfort to me and make me feel human.   the kids were happy to have their own space.    our trailer is at the end of road that only one other trailer is on so the kids played outside in the gravel road like a yard.   they made a snowman the few days we had snow.   they decided that the gravel on the outside was clothing on our snowman.   find the good in all things.   poor rocky snowman.

the end of december and january was probably the longest month or so i have ever lived.   it was horribly cold.   we couldn't keep the tent warm so we mostly lived in just the trailer and playing outside wasn't a choice very often or very long.   my plants died because we couldn't keep the tent warm and i had no place to bring them in.   the cat stayed with us more because it was so cold.   everyone was so worried about us and i was beginning to worry myself.   but in the middle of this, i was grateful still.   i was able to text my mom and sister, i had internet and a laptop.   the one we brought with us failed and friend gave me her old one.   it was oooollllddd, like 8 years old.   it got me on the internet, i could get my e mail and onto facebook.   i couldn't play games or anything like that, but the most important was just the communication with home.   storms moved in and we had to use big trucking straps to hold the tent down.   the wind rocked the trailer and ripped at the tent.   i was grateful for the straps and that our roof was still in place.   the neighbor lost theirs.   i swear that we had angels holding things together sometimes.   in the middle of this, i wrote this and posted it as my status on facebook:

"if i live in a house, i am grateful for the house.
if i live in a trailer, i am grateful for the trailer.
if i live in a tent, or a box or under a bridge, i am grateful for those as well.
if i live under the stars, i am grateful for the stars and for life itself. 
God gives me all that i need and nothing i cannot manage."

i had been posting gratitude every other day or so.   the last few years i had been posting something i was grateful for every day in november for thanksgiving.   this last time i continued it through december, january, february.   i wasn't getting something every day, but most days.   i asked the kids for something they were grateful for every day on the way to school.    it has become a habit now.   while i don't do it everyday now, it did lead to thankful thursday.

during this time, we lost our house in idaho.   that is also a long story and it involves people that were unpleasant and . . . just unpleasant.   it was very hurtful, my mother was left with only texts to communicate with me and there wasn't anything i could do.   she was left to deal with it and she did everything she could.   i was grateful for being able to text her.    i was grateful that my sister was there to help out.   i was grateful for tears to release the anger and hurt.   i was grateful for a friend that let me use her phone to call my mother.   i was grateful that it was all just stuff and no body gets to take any of it with them.   i remember my grandmother saying something about a situation she faced.   she said, "i'll only be upset if he gets to take it with him.   i have the memories and he doesn't.   i can take those with me when i die, so i'll only be upset if he gets to take it with him."   i am grateful for this kind of childhood, where i was taught what is important.   if it's important, you can take it with you.

finally, february 13th, 2012 we moved into a house.   i told my friend the night before, "today, i am grateful for a front door.   tomorrow, i will be grateful for front door that doesn't zip.".

now, it's warm and we have been going out to the lake again.

next week we'll probably stay in the trailer for a few days.

yesterday, my husband and i were discussing what of those storage cabinets could go now that we don't have to keep everything we own there.

for the first time since moving out, i looked at the trailer, really looked at it.   i felt like when you go into your kindergarten class as an adult.   everything looks like it shrunk.   i know that trailer was bigger than that.   it was always bigger on the inside than it looked on the outside.   i always found a place to put things.   there was always room.   yesterday, i finally understood why people kept asking if we were ok.   i finally saw what they saw.   i had no idea that it was so small.

gratitude kept my sanity at bay so that i had no idea i was living in such a confined space.   i had no idea life wasn't good.   i couldn't see that i should be miserable.   i am so grateful for the gratitude that kept me insane where sanity would have been my undoing.