Last night I had a conversation with an elderly woman that I have known since childhood. She was extremely distraught about some downed trees in the woods alongside her driveway from hurricane Florence back in September. And when I say distraught, I mean DISTRAUGHT! I calmly said to her to think about how blessed she is that she didn’t have any damage to her home. (I know she hasn’t been out to see all the damage in our community because she is basically homebound.) I told her about how severe the damage was. I told her about the large amount of people that lost everything: their homes and all their possessions. I expressed how so many were having trouble putting food on the table due to the amount of damage they had. I told her about friends of mine living in campers in their driveways for the next 6 months while their homes get repaired. Families with small children completely displaced and will continue to be through the holidays. I wanted her to truly see how blessed she was to only have some downed trees in the woods. But her response left me jaw dropped speechless. She said, “those people and their damage are not my concern. My concern is my image that I have maintained my entire life.” I realized that there was no reasoning with her. I told her that I thought it was a selfish way to look at the situation and I left the conversation at that.
Afterwards, I couldn’t help but think what an awful way that must be to live. To have so little concern for others and so much concern for what your image is. Keeping up the appearances. So concerned what someone will think of her because there are downed trees in the woods alongside her driveway. She clearly doesn’t see the forest for the tree. LOL. I wonder how many other beautiful situations she has missed out on in life for focusing on appearances rather than joy and happiness? We all go through good and bad times, easy and difficult times, but we can always find something to be grateful for. Focus on the blessings. Enjoy life. If someone is going to think negatively of you because you have downed trees in your woods (from a hurricane), I would suggest surrounding yourself with new people.
My husband, son, and I decided to go to our favorite local restaurant right up the street after I had this conversation. It’s a place where we sit at the bar and when the owner sees us pull in, she has our favorite drink poured and waiting on us when we come through the door. We get plates of appetizers and share them amongst each other while watching Wheel of Fortune or a game on the TV. No appearances to uphold, just enjoying each other’s company and good food.
And my heart was full. And grateful. And I felt so blessed to be enjoying life and the people I love. My heart truly hurts for this woman that has lived a long life but hasn’t enjoyed a long life. How much joy has she missed out on for being concerned about things that don’t matter? When you leave this world, you can’t take that pristine yard with you but you can leave all the those you love with a full heart of memories. During this season of Thanksgiving, grasp the saying “Begin each day with a grateful heart.” Be thankful for all your blessings and don’t sweat the small stuff. A grateful and loving heart is the best image anyone can show the world!