Something for the Soul: The unpredictability of life – Gratitude

June 2013 Posted in Columnists & Opinion

Winnie BoltonBy Winnie Bolton

I write about gratitude often but it is never enough. Not wanting to sound boring, I try not to dwell on it but my heart continuously overflows with thankfulness.

When a person moves from one great state to their seventh state in 50 years as Tom and I have done, one is faced with constant beginnings, forcing growth but leaving behind large chunks of one’s heart.

Take for example our first move from New York to Massachusetts, I cried secret tears for family and friends while happily adjusting to a new community.

When moving four years later to Connecticut, I was seven months pregnant and housing hunting. Having had a breach birth with our first baby the prior year, I was apprehensively searching out a doctor.

Our oldest son – the Boston bean – was starting first grade; the second son – our Connecticut Yankee – was in kindergarten and with two darling daughters born a year apart, we were in Chicago when I gave birth to a third precious girl – new doctor, new hospital and the whole catastrophe.

Continuous promotions with frequent traveling assignments for Tom was what life was offering us.

On to Michigan was next after four years of settling down in Illinois. Our sons had finished high school and were starting college, our daughters finished elementary school and were in high school when the next offer came, moving us to Arizona.

Staying behind in Michigan were our sons and their respective colleges. Saying good-bye to them at the airport nearly broke my heart – their home had disappeared.

Our daughters finished high school and college in Arizona while marriages were taking place, in fact two on one weekend in Michigan. With Tom’s retirement, we moved to Oregon in 1990. The experience of having survived living on an island, a desert, a mountain, a valley, taking subways, railroad trains, living in cities and in suburbs had become a natural and educational acceptance. The reason for briefly sketching out our life is to search out why I’m so grateful for the constant and sometimes difficult moves, as I wouldn’t have chosen the recurring uprooting but these paradoxes are what tests one’s strength and faith.

God’s plan for Tom and I, as I view it now, was to adjust and readjust growing toward detachment thus trusting the path He had chosen for us to accept fresh experiences. Our present is the product of the past but also the seed for the future.

Thank you dear, dear Lord for being constantly by our side rewarding Tom and I with our final move to the beautiful town of Mount Angel with its rich Benedictine hospitality from the Queen of Angels Monastery to the hilltop Abbey, a first class hospital nearby and our wonderful Oktoberfest every year.  Gratitude can never end.

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