The plumber arrived last night. Again. Finally. With the parts he’d ordered last week that finally arrived.
We have central heating again. Finally. After one week of no boiler. One week of layering up inside the house and limiting our movements to just the rooms where we had heaters running, we are warm and toasty in every room again.
I am grateful.
Not only for the plumbers arrival and the successful repair of our boiler, but also for the electricity that powered up the space heaters C.C. and I plugged in to keep the main level of our home warm.
I am grateful Old Man Winter took a hiatus from wrapping us up in frigid temps and gave us a break of near or above freezing for the past week.
I am grateful it wasn’t bitterly cold and we had to worry about freezing pipes.
I am grateful it was only a week.
Imagine if it was the entire winter. Or that we didn’t have electricity. Or a roof over our heads in the first place.
Imagine if we hadn’t been able to afford to plug in the heaters, or couldn’t cuddle up together and watch TV, or play Crib, or read a book in the relative comfort of space-heater heated rooms.
There are so many things in my life I take for granted. So many things I assume will just be there because they always are. Like electricity. Or a front door that locks. Or a fridge whose light comes on when I open the door. Or hot water running from the tap.
There are so many things I don’t think about. Don’t give any thought to. Don’t pause to say, ‘thank you’ to because they’re just there. They’re just part of my daily world of comfort.
I am grateful for my daily world of comfort.
I was reminded of the importance of gratitude yesterday as I walked from my office to the C-train to take the ride home. Ahead of me, standing on the sidewalk in front of a wellness centre, I saw a man I know from the homeless shelter where I used to work. I sometimes wondered when I saw him there if he ever even saw me. He was often confused, talking to himself, lost in a world of paranoia brought on by mental illness. When I saw him yesterday he was standing outside of a mental wellness centre smoking a cigarette.
He saw me as I approached and smiled. Called out a cheery hello. How nice to see you! Haven’t seen you in a long while.
I stopped to chat. He grabbed my gloved hands in one of his bare hands. His eyes were clear. His face clean shaven. He looked well. His clothes no longer torn and dishevelled. He looked like he was taking good care of himself.
You look wonderful, I told him. And it was true. He looked younger. Healthier. Happier.
He laughed. Yeah. I don’t look like such a bum anymore now do I? And he laughed again. A deep, satisfying roll of mirth that rose up from his belly. I’m living on my own now, he said, before going on to tell me about the meds he’s taking and how they’re really helping. About his apartment and how he’s got people helping him. He smiled and held my hands as we stood chatting on the street. It’s really nice to see you, he said. I’m doing so much better now.
I’m so glad, I replied. It’s nice to see you too.
I don’t miss that place [the shelter] he told me, but I sure am grateful it was there when I needed it. I might not made it if it weren’t for that place. Yup. I sure am grateful.
As we parted I carried his gratitude with me. I carried it as I boarded the crowded C-train and found a spot to stand. I carried it with me as I got on and off the train at each stop to let people get off behind me. I carried it with me as I got off at my stop and walked up the stairs towards the road and pressed the light for the walk signal so that I could cross safely. I carried it with me as I walked down the street towards the car where C.C. sat waiting to pick me up and take me home so that I didn’t have to wait for the bus or walk along the icy sidewalks.
I carried it with me as I walked through our front door and Ellie, the wonder pooch, greeted me with tail wagging and body squirming as she expressed her happiness at seeing me.
I carried it with me as I changed from workday clothes to comfy wear complete with cashmere shawl to keep me warm.
I carried it with me as I answered a text from a girlfriend inviting us for dinner on the weekend.
I carried it with me as I drove to the art supply store to pick up a new canvas to work on this weekend.
I carried it with me throughout the evening as I prepared dinner, filled the dishwasher, washed my face, got ready for bed and climbed under the covers.
And I carry it with me this morning as I sit typing at my desk, the room warmed by central heating flowing through the pipes that carry water from the boiler to every room in our home.
The plumber arrived yesterday and fixed our boiler.
I am grateful.
May I carry gratitude within me throughout the day. In gratitude, I am thankful. In gratitude, I am at peace.
What will you carry?