By Mary Rourke
It occurred to me that it might be a good idea to actually write down the things I’m grateful for. This list is by no means complete, but it’s a start.
My good buddy Bill Reagan died from cancer in July 2013. He’d been director of Valley Shelter Homes, a place for teens in need which closed 10 years ago in March. He had a plaque on his desk which read: “Gratitude is an attitude.”
• It’s tax time and I hate paperwork, but I have the ability and income to do it myself and pay the taxes. My illiterate grandfather, a poor Polish farm-worker immigrant, viewed taxes as a sign that he made enough money to take care of his wife and 10 children.
• Frequent vet visits for my cat’s chronic illness have been expensive, but I have a wonderful companion whose purr is like music and whose fur is plush and warm. I can afford the vet bill with careful budgeting.
• With age, arthritis is kicking in so I’ve been extra careful on icy and snowy days and haven’t gone out to see friends as much. But I have friends and all my limbs and the awareness and ability to do things to maintain my health and safety.
• I turned down the heat to save money this winter, but I have a home and a furnace that should work for a few more years.
• I drove less this winter since I didn’t want to risk even a minor accident which would increase my insurance expense, but I have a reliable vehicle and good insurance and I saved money on gas.
• I grew up poor, so I have lots of experience with doing more with less. The Goodwill employees are always nice and my friends and I swap bargain stories. I really enjoy having fun for almost nothing and saving money by creative thinking and working.
• I just learned that a cousin my age lost her husband last fall and now an older brother. The grief must be overwhelming. I’m so fortunate I have healthy siblings all younger than me.
• I was responsible for my 10-years-younger sister’s safety when I was a kid, but now this sister with Down syndrome is my biggest cheerleader. Here are some of her words of wisdom and encouragement: People aren’t perfect, only God is perfect. I’m so proud of you. I care about you. My favorite things are God and Jesus! I do my best.
I am a most blessed person. Happy Easter!
(Mary Rourke is a member of St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Davenport.)