Sometimes, when we are diligently searching but looking in all the wrong places, the very thing we seek waits for us in plain sight. Things we don’t even know we need…
Glad to go out on a mission, I sought the variety of greens that I usually gather for holiday decorations. For cedar, I knew right where to go; the revered old tree had some lower branches that needed pruning. It was easy, using the long-handled loppers, to cut a couple of long branches off.
Once those were down, I pruned off the smaller branches and made a stack on the lawn to be retrieved later.
The Douglas firs were more difficult, as most of the lower branches were gone. Strolling the edge of the pasture, I searched for any possibility when something caught my eye.
Scattered about were many small branches blown down by a recent storm. I gathered them up and stacked them into another pile.
There is a spot where western white pine cones accumulate. It’s a bit of a mystery as there are none of these trees nearby that I can see, and now there were more there than usual and some unmistakable long-needled branches.
I made another pile. When I was finished, I had more than enough fresh greens to do what I wanted and to share with friends and neighbors.
After fifty years of marriage, my husband and I have reached a new plateau, of sorts, in our relationship. Gone are the rounds of endless discussions trying vainly to change a mind, the hurt feelings, the frustrations of not seeing eye-to-eye on an issue. We have always agreed on most of the important things, but have our differences, as everyone does. Perhaps the struggle to turn a partner into someone other than who they really are is a hallmark of youth, but it is one we’ve surrendered to time. We now truly value each other - “warts and all” – and with that acceptance comes a tremendous peace.
A few years ago, through a series of volunteer projects, I gradually became acquainted with a couple of remarkable women. One is a chatterbox - innately honest and a warm, caring person with a heart as big as all outdoors and a fierce enthusiasm to throw herself wholeheartedly into any endeavor she is a part of. The other appears quiet and reserved and can size up a situation quickly, has an eye for detail, and a determined stubbornness when it comes to preserving the environment and all creatures within it.
One is a non-practicing Catholic; the other has probing questions on all things involving faith. We get together often, discuss anything, and respect each other’s opinions. Beyond a doubt, I have become better informed, stronger in my convictions, and more willing to act for causes I believe in because of their willingness to question and share. Ours has become a treasured friendship.
We had been without a dog for fifteen years when a series of circumstances led to our adopting our little rescue terrier, Scruffy. We wanted to find a dog locally, but we found him on the internet. We wanted to travel a short distance, yet we drove to another state to see him. We wanted an uncomplicated process - we visited him at an incarceration facility for young men, but still could not bring him home because the rescue group needed to visit and approve our home. Lord knows he has his issues, unique behaviors, and odd little personality quirks, but he has added a certain energy, challenge, and spirit to our aging lives. He makes us LAUGH harder than we have in years, gets us out of the house daily, and gives us a reason to look forward to every day. And we wonder – just who saved whom?
All of this is windfall - unexpected, unearned, a sudden gain or advantage. In one form or another it comes to all of us, but we need to open our eyes to see and recognize it. And when you do, acknowledge, accept, and value it – trust where it comes from and that there will be more to come.