Surrounded by abundance...
November 1st, 2021
“It might not feel like it all the time,” Carrie told me, “but we are surrounded by beauty, surrounded by abundance every day.”
Living on a meager disability check in her weathered old house, isolating to keep from contracting COVID which would be catastrophic given her pre-existing conditions, coping with chronic depression, Carrie might not be the person who would immediately come to mind when you think of abundance, but this is her story.
“Everywhere you look there is evidence of God’s goodness,” she says. “Look at the flowers and trees, the beautiful fall colors. Look into the faces of my grandchildren in their photos. The littlest one drew a picture for my refrigerator.” Her smile increases the wrinkles around her eyes and her mouth. Carrie smiles a lot. “I had the strength to get up this morning. I had good food for breakfast thanks to you people [at UCOM]. I have lots of memories that keep me warm. I’m OK.”
“You’re always ‘OK’ even when you’re not,” I joked with her.
She continued, “Everything is OK. I don’t know why I get to live to be old when so many young people are dying every day. But I’m going to just live every day in peace. I can’t get out to tend my flowers like I used to, but young people come and do it for me, so I am still surrounded by beauty all season. When I get down, I count my blessings and then I hum a little tune, and I know that life goes on—with its joys and its sorrows—life goes on and I have enough. I’m OK.”
I went away from that conversation humming a little tune myself, counting my blessings and knowing that everything really is OK.
The abundance I saw in Carrie that day was an abundance of faith and hope. I saw abundance of spirit from which she was drawing to stay on an even keel. There was an abundance of resilience in her neighbors, many of whom endure challenges of unemployment, meager finances, stresses from authorities and institutions, health disparities, political football, and the myriad of other things that might bring down someone else. But those same neighbors are there for each other. They participate in community activities like growing and helping their neighbors to tend their garden plots, like cooking and canning and sharing what they have. What Carrie and our other neighbors teach me is that abundance is not measured by what we have in our hands, but in how we respond with our hearts.
Here’s to abundance and to you and to our neighbors as we work together to create a more just world for all of us.
Will you count some of your blessings with me in the comments below? I'd love to know what lifts your spirits in difficult times.