Feeling fortunate
Feb. 22, 2019
by Ivan Raconteur

As I contemplated reports that another round (or two) of snow was headed our way this week, I found my thoughts taking a different path than they might have taken a few weeks ago.

I suspect many of us are growing weary of the snow, ice, and frigid temperatures that make up a Minnesota winter.

Perhaps we’re tired of having to shuffle across sloppy parking lots hoping we don’t break our necks in the process.

Maybe we are trying to figure out where we are going to pile the next installment of white joy as the banks turn sidewalks into canyons.

Despite these things, I’m going to try to break the pattern. Perhaps it’s the glorious sunshine that is flooding through my office window, but at least for today, I’m inclined to try to be a kinder, gentler curmudgeon.

I started this morning.

When I left the bachelor estate to head for the office, I was confronted with a vehicle covered in ice.

I confess this is one of my least favorite things, especially in the morning when I haven’t had any coffee to buoy my spirits.

But instead of complaining about the ice, I chose to focus on the fact I’m lucky to have a reliable vehicle that starts every day and gets me where I need to go.

Many people are not so fortunately situated.

As I thought about the impending snowstorm, I again found a reason to feel lucky.

I have a short commute and a comfortable office in which to work.

The sloppy roads are a temporary inconvenience for me, but for many people, the roads are their office.

Plow drivers, for example, are up when most people are sleeping, trying to keep roads passable. They have to avoid hazards – including other motorists, stalled vehicles, and cars parked where they ought not be parked – as they work to keep streets clear.

There are also legions of emergency responders, as well as service and delivery people who must be out and about in all weather.

Others are engaged in transporting other people to where they need to be, driving cabs, buses, or other vehicles.

It can be difficult for many of us to get excited about going to work when the weather turns nasty. This is evidenced by the fact that a hint of flurries in the air can cause half the employees at some companies to call in and announce they’re unable to make it to work.

That may be a slight exaggeration, but there’s no doubt attendance for some people is definitely weather-related.

So, if some people lose the will to work at just the thought of an unpleasant commute, how do people who have to spend their entire day out in that mess generate the enthusiasm to get on with it?

There are others, including farmers, who don’t have the luxury of taking a snow day.

They have their work to do, and it doesn’t matter if it is convenient or comfortable.

These are some of the things about which I was thinking as I looked out my window and watched the sunbeams dancing across the white dunes of winter.

The sunshine won’t last, and maybe my newfound optimism won’t last, either.

But for today, I am making the conscious choice to be thankful for all I have.

That doesn’t necessarily mean I won’t think dark thoughts the next time I have to hack a layer of ice off my vehicle, or slip on the ice and tumble base over apex into a snowbank. But today, I am making a choice to count my blessings, which are many, and ignore my burdens, which are few and trivial.

I feel better already.

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