A Gentle Reminder

Frontier Park

On Friday, May 31 the St. Louis metro area was hard hit by powerful storms. St. Charles County (where I live) received a lot of damage. I live in the city of St. Charles, which is a town that lies along the Missouri River. Unfortunately, in addition to lightning, high winds, hail and tornadoes, the storm also dumped massive amounts of rain on the area. The above picture is of the bloated Missouri River, as evident by the photo, the waters have taken over the grassy area of Frontier Park.

The park is about a half-mile from my house and it’s one of my favorite places to think, write and snap photos. Numerous pictures from the park and surrounding riverfront area have appeared on my blog over the years. So when I went for an evening walk last night to assess the damage, I will admit my heart broke a little. I hate seeing that sort of destruction.

I know it’s just water. I know it’s just the park. I know it’s happened before–and was actually much worse–most recently, 20 years ago when the Great Flood of ’93 caused the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers to create a soggy atmosphere across the Midwest.

Like I said I know that the flooding of one park isn’t something I should really complain about, and it’s not the real reason I am writing this post. What inspired me to write is that today I spoke with several people who lost all or a majority of their homes in the storms Friday night.

I listened to some of their stories, heard the pain in their voices and saw the weariness in their faces. No one complained. No one cursed the storms or Mother Nature. For the most part I heard an honest gratitude from these people.

They were happy that the only causalities caused by the storm were material things which can be replaced. Even though replacing their homes and the items inside will be costly, it’s a much better scenario than what could’ve happened.

Seeing these folks who had just been through so much, their lives were literally turned upside down, made me grateful for what I have. I was so very happy to come home this evening and make a simple meal in my little apartment.

I don’t mean that in the selfish way that it sounds. I mean that I am grateful that I have something that we often take for granted. Not just a roof over my head, but order in my life. Again, I am not saying this to be boastful. I am saying it to remind myself that anything can happen.

At any moment any one of our lives could spin into chaos for any number of reasons. It seems a simple enough thing to remember, but I know many times we focus so hard on what’s not that we forget about what is.

Since I know that gratitude can be a struggle for all of us, I’d like to close with a simple, yet powerful, quote on the subject, and I invite you to please share thoughts you have about gratitude, favorite quotes pertaining to gratitude or experiences you’ve had with practicing gratitude in the comments section below.

Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for. ―Epicurus

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