Different Tomorrows

I’m hunkered down in the carpetless kitchen, waiting for the carpets in the rest of the house to dry. I should open the windows to help the process along, but since the neighbors are outside burning meat, the windows remain shut. (Yeah, I know, they’re having a barbecue, but it smells like all they are doing is burning flesh.)

SunriseNo, I didn’t do the carpets myself. My dad’s “estate” paid to have them done. (Estate sounds so grand, doesn’t it? But it consists of little more than this house.) I didn’t even feel guilty lolling around while they did the work, though I did spend part of the time outside to stay out of their way. I certainly didn’t need to worry about them taking anything — there’s nothing to take. Although I still have some sorting and packing to do — clothes, computer accessories and other things I use every day — almost everything I own is stacked in the garage ready to be moved into a storage unit when the house is sold. And except for furniture, all my father’s things are gone.

I spent most of yesterday and last night getting ready for the carpet cleaners, finishing last minute projects, clearing tables, couches, and buffet to make them easier to move. When I took a break and looked around at my almost empty living room, I felt weird. And sad. And lonely. And a bit scared to realize this is really happening.

Next week the house goes on the market, and I will be one step from . . .

There are those dang ellipses again. I don’t know what I’m one step away from. Well, the future, of course, but I haven’t a clue what is in store for me. None of us do, of course, but we assume that tomorrow will like today, more or less, and for me, one of these tomorrows will be completely different.

I should be used to such different tomorrows by now. Almost forty years ago, I walked into a health food store and my tomorrows were forever changed. When the man I met that day died five years ago, my tomorrows were again forever changed. And now once again I am on the cusp of forever-changed tomorrows.

Sometimes I feel excitement at the thought of starting a whole new life, but more often than I care to admit, I feel the way I did last night. Sad. Lonely. Scared.

So many of my plans for adventure (well, ideas — I never actually got to the planning stage on any of them) have withered unborn. Although generally I am healthy, there are many things I can no longer do and others I never could do, such as walking the Pacific Crest Trail, so I am trying not to plan, but to just keep dealing with each of my todays.

And today is adventure enough for now.

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Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire,andDaughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

Taking “T” Things With Gratitude

When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude. ~~ G. K. Chesterton

For the rest of November, I’m going to take with gratitude some of those things I often take for granted — an entire alphabet’s worth! Since today is the twentienth day of this surge of gratitude, I am giving thanks for “T” things.

I am especially grateful for:

Tigers. I’ve never met a tiger outside of a zoo, and I’m not sure I’d ever want to meet one, but I’m grateful there are such creatures roaming free adding a bit of wildness to our increasingly tame world.

numbersTomorrow. Of all the things we take for granted, “tomorrow” is probably the one we most take for granted until something — a severe illness or the death of a loved one — reminds us that our tomorrows are gifts. One of the great joys in life is putting off until tomorrow what we should have or could have done today. And one of the great comforts in life is knowing that we can always try again tomorrow what we failed at today. So I will take with gratitude all my tomorrows.

Temperature control. Oh, the miracle of being able to change the inside temperature with the touch of a button or the flick of a switch! We take such luxury for granted (until the bill comes, that is) but it’s a great blessing to be warm on a cold day or cool on a hot day, and for this, I am grateful.

Taste. Considering that Thanksgiving feasting is only a few days away, I am especially grateful for the ability to taste. So what if I am going the easy way, simply fixing boxed stuffing, heating up rotisserie chicken, using bottled gravy, and canned cranberries. (There is no way I’m going to cook a full dinner for a 97-year-old man who would just as soon drink Ensure.) And anyway, the yams will be freshly baked. (No marshmallows or maple syrup, thank you very much.)

Thank you. “Thank you” seems to be disappearing from the world, especially the shopping world, replaced by a casual “there you go.” Eek. I never take “thank you” for granted, but I take all my “thank you”s with gratitude.

Toes. Without toes, we would have no balance, no grace. Even though my balance is poor and my grace often lacking, it’s not the fault of my toes, for which I am grateful.

So, what “T” things are you taking for gratitude today?

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See also:
Taking “A” Things With Gratitude, Taking “B” Things With Gratitude, Taking “C” Things With Gratitude,Taking “D” Things With Gratitude, Taking “E” Things With Gratitude, Taking “F” Things With Gratitude, Taking “G” Things With Gratitude, Taking “H” Things With Gratitude, Taking “I” Things With Gratitude, Taking “J” Things With Gratitude,Taking “K” Things With Gratitude, Taking “L” Things With Gratitude, Taking “M” Things With Gratitude, Taking “N” Things With Gratitude, Taking “O” Things With Gratitude, Taking “P” Things With Gratitude, Taking “Q” Things With Gratitude, Taking “R” Things With Gratitude, Taking “S” Things With Gratitude

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Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.