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It's not the journey, but the ride

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By Kay Kerbyson

In this season of Thanksgiving, I was reminded that we all get snowed under by day-to-day life. Too many errands to do, too much work — keep the house tidy, look after the kids. Life can be a whirlwind sometimes. But when you hear of bad news, or you get bad news yourself, it kind of reminds you what we should really be thankful for.

I’m thankful to the rabbit that has made my yard its home and opens my children’s eyes with delight every time they see it. I’m thankful to the spider who teases me by popping in and out of my bathroom plughole, because it reminds me that life can be snuffed out in an instant. I’m grateful to my dog that barks at everyone who comes within 100 yards of the house since, whilst it’s extremely annoying to everyone, I know he’s trying to keep me safe.

It’s not just animals either. Humans, believe it or not, can also be nice people, too. I know, it doesn’t seem like it some days, does it? But that guy who cuts the corner at a crossroad — we should be thankful to him. He reminds us how dangerous it is on the road and to slow down and take a deep breath.

To those people who make sure their car is locked by beeping the horn, I know it can be annoying, but be thankful. They’re telling any thieves around that, yes, we are a safety conscious community and, yes, my car alarm is on, thank you very much.

Be thankful, too, to those people who write curt e-mails, because they remind us that words should be chosen carefully, even when you’re typing with one finger, holding the phone in the other, and making lunch with anything else you have. Elbows do come in handy sometimes!

Thank you also to chance. When the thunderstorms come and the TV goes off, I’m reminded that I’ve been spending way too much time watching Home and Garden television and that I don’t need to rush out and buy dyed concrete countertops, six showerheads per bath and a coffee machine that also vacuums. The house won’t fall down without them.

It also reminds me that I am way too reliant on e-mail. Checking it once or twice a day is OK, but not being able to pass the computer in the kitchen without refreshing the mail window, now that’s addiction. Fact is, there is a world out there that’s waiting for me to go visit. Not being connected can be a good thing.

And I’m thankful to the beautiful sunsets over the Sangre de Cristos. When I drag myself out of bed early and catch the sunrise out the window, just at the moment when it takes your breath away, I thank myself for getting up and not selfishly snuggling longer.

Get the message? It’s the journey we should be thankful for, not the destination. Everything teaches us something. Yes, we’re all thankful for our family, our friends, having a nice car, a roof over our head and our health, but we take the subtle bends in the road for granted. We all have to get off at the station sometime, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the ride.

I’ve heard a lot of bad news lately, about friends and others in our community­ — tragic losses, relapses, setbacks. My heart goes out to you all. It can be very hard to be thankful at times. But remember this. You, and I, are still on the train, no matter what coach we’re in. Some of us may be in first class just breezing along, while others may be in the cattle wagon searching for scraps, but we’re all heading somewhere. We’re there with our family, our friends and strangers, all taking the bumps, the jolts and the corners. The conductor hasn’t come along yet and kicked us off, even if we are playing with the emergency cord.

So enjoy the ride and be thankful for it, because from challenge, from annoyance and from life, should always come thanks.

Kay Kerbyson is Secretary of the Los Alamos Council on Cancer, and Founder/President of Ovarian Cancer Together Inc., the only non-profit specifically supporting women in New Mexico with ovarian cancer. Resources, support and education materials, for those effected by cancer, can be found at www.losalamos

counciloncancer.org and www.ovariancancertogether.org.