Count Your Blessings

Man at the blood lab today, sketched by little ol’ me.

I set out each day with a plan. Today (as usual) it had crumbled before 8 AM. My son hasn’t felt well, so instead of heading to my studio, I took him to a lab to have blood drawn.

Between the news from Boston and the news from West, Texas, it’s been a dreadful week. One can barely look away from the news, but focusing on it leaves us feeling deflated. But if faith is the opposite of fear, then this black hole of fear and grief is an unacceptable place for the child of God to linger.
Easer to say than do, egh?
As is my wont, I pulled out my sketchbook to draw. My attention was drawn to a man in the prime of life (in other words, about my age), with alert, intelligent eyes. He was well-dressed and well-groomed. He was also assisted by an aide and wearing a helmet and on a walker. As I sketched him, I pondered what cataclysm had laid him low.
My mother liked to say, “You don’t have to look very far to count your blessings.” She did not mean that we should take pleasure in others’ misfortune, but that around every corner is a person who would rejoice at the blessings we take for granted.
It was a long wait. An elderly man said loudly to his wife, “Now, I’ll have to divorce you.” A bad joke, I thought, between an obviously affectionate and long-married couple. Then I listened closer. Her sharp looks as he talked to the phlebotomist were to catch him before he stumbled, for he was suffering from dementia.
People at the blood lab today, sketched by little ol’ me.
A man came in with his middle-age daughter. He leaned forward and fell asleep as she did a crossword puzzle. Occasionally he would startle awake and say, “It’s slow here today,” and then doze again.
We are all given a choice—we can focus on the grief that swirls around us, or on the gift of life, the enormous mystery and miracle that is the breath we take every few seconds. We can focus on the long line at the phlebotomist’s office, or the fellow travelers sharing the wait with us.
Have a blessed weekend.
There’s still room in this summer’s Maine painting workshops. Check here for more information.