12 things to be thankful for at the end of a few challenging weeks. 

This week wasn’t meant to be this way. Our original family plan was to be away for 10 days from last week to this weekend, but the bringing forward of my wife’s hysterectomy operation changed those plans. She had the operation last Wednesday (all successful by the way) after we swiftly rearranged a weekend away in Devon , camping, just so that we could have something of a family holiday during the school holidays. 

So this week has been one of being off work but looking after Lynn in recovery and also my teenagers at home. 

As I was walking the dog earlier I was thinking that it would be easy to maybe moan about not having a holiday or about having to stay in for a week, but instead I realised quite how much for these two weeks I’ve got to be thankful for, thinge easy to forget in the busyness of balancing lots of things … and so, in no particular order they are; 

  1. NHS Staff and Nurses- for 7 days this summer we’ve felt the benefit of the dedication, competence and attitude of the NHS doctors, consultants, nurses and support staff at North tees hospital. See here for my wife’s reflections of her stay. But much to be thankful for, even if they’re all doing their jobs, they do it under a huge amount of stress and stretched resources. 
  2. A rerranged trip to Devon and the weather. It was an indulgence of food (aside from the camping cooking) and stunning weather. My only ever British camping experience with no rain. Quality time with the family and a visit back to our former home town to catch up with people we left a few years ago. A few personal fears were exorcised to. A short evening on the beach at Salcombe regis, a hidden gem of a beach not far from the campsite. It was just great to swim in the sea for 15 minutes. 
  3. As i walked my dog today, the parakeets in burn valley wood were cawcawing. A gentle reminder to me of how even the sounds of tropical birds in an urban park is out of context and incoherant. Subversive but also beautiful.Of how things out of their context can be a blessing. 
  4. Blogging, its kept my creative mind from going a little insane, i know im not as interesting or as funny as i think i am but sometimes its just thearpy for a confused, thinking soul. Thanks to those who read, ask questions and comment, for those who share my posts well, your treasures are due. For the people who encourage me to blog more thank you. But I love the process more. 
  5. Cycling. Even with everything going on I’ve managed to get out and do a few short rides, about 30 miles this week. Not wanting to be too far away from the house as my usual form of rescue is unable to drive. Even George has joined me on the cycling and tolerated cycle geekiest.   Quality father-son times out in the teesside lanes. Deep Joy. 
  6. Last Friday, whilst Lynn was still in hospital I took the dog out for a walk down crimdon beach. At the end of a week of driving 1000 miles and Lynns operation. I felt the fresh air. Took a deep breath.. and breathed. Epic space. 
  7. Flowers & visits. Thank you to those who’ve visited Lynn in hospital over the summer and at home. For the comments on facebook and the 5 bunches of flowers I’ve collected from the front door. It’s been nice to be remembered and we have run out of vases. Fortunately I’ve not had to arrange them!  Thank you. 
  8. This summer has not been about me, and rightly so. But a few people have asked how I am. Those people, you know who you are. Thank you, it means a lot. 
  9. Blackberries that grow in my garden. Next door have a blackberry bush, which we share the fruits of. So since last Wednesday I’ve picked a daily small bowl of blackberries. A daily supply of blackberry goodness all for free. Last year we made blackberry wine and Jam.  It was so nice we might do the same soon. But, along with the produce we planted deliberately, like spring onions, lettuce, potatoes, beetroot and herbs it’s just such a great feeling eating my own grown food. 
  10. Thank you to a few people I’ve met this week who care passionately about young people in their village. With the right support and prodding it’s the start of some amazing work hopefully in a needy area. 
  11. For evenings watching films. From the shire to the lonely mountain and back again, watching the hobbit & lotr with George and sheffields finest dancers , laughing along revisiting The Full Monty a film lynn and i hadnt seen sInce 97… Not forgetting a day out at Tyneside cinema (a lovely place to be) to have lunch and watch ‘the BFG’ with Anna. Just a magical film and time with her. (It was a few weeks ago, I might add)
  12. Finally, I have been able in and amongst all of this get a few hours studying done, and revisiting 3 of Vanhoozers seminal texts has been the usual refreshing worshipful moments and of learning. 

It would be easy to complain, and yes at times tiredness and impatience has taken over, when I’d hope people might be more helpful around the house.. but in the big scheme of things some of those things don’t matter, instead there’s a lot to be thankful for. And stopping to appreciate these things whilst walking the dog was a blessing in itself. 

(Thank you to Becca Dean who writes blogs about thankfulness every week and challenges me everytime to have that same attitude) 

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