Counting My Blessings

Yesterday I went to the gym like many other days. The skies looked ominous, so I decided to plug my headphones into the TV on the treadmill instead of getting my daily dose of Dave Matthews. I turned the TV to the Weather Channel and couldn’t turn away. Throughout my workout, I was transfixed by the horror I saw unfolding in Moore, OK. Newscasters were urging folks to seek shelter underground immediately. The crew in the news helicopter surveyed damage from the skies and zeroed in on two elementary schools that resembled toys destroyed by an angry child. They were mere matchsticks, twisted steel and rubble.

Tears began to stream down my face as I heard the heartbreak in these seasoned professional’s voices. They cover all of these weather disasters, but even they couldn’t handle the thought of the elementary school decimated. They knew a 2 mile wide tornado meant death and destruction for this town.

Maybe it’s because I am a teacher, or maybe it’s because I’m trying so hard to become a mother but more likely it’s just because I am human that I hurt for these people. Their lives are changed in fundamental ways. The children in that school lost much of their innocence yesterday. They have experienced a terror I have never known. Some lived to deal with the demons in the future, and others were lost to us forever, lives that we will never know what they could have done.  The adults that survived are left to rebuild- their homes, their communities and their entire lives.  They have to start over again, with little else but determination and the thoughts, prayers and positive energy of the entire country.

In the face of this incredible pain and loss, I couldn’t help but count my blessings. I have a safe comfortable home to go home to tonight. I have a job I find rewarding. I have a dog who joyfully greets me every day and warms my feet every night.  I have a husband who has tirelessly been by my side through whatever struggles we have faced in our nearly decade long marriage. I have family and friends who love and support me, even when I am like a broken record on the trying to conceive topic. I have the life I have carefully crafted and I am grateful for that.

This doesn’t mean I am “over” the pain of trying to conceive. It’s still a lonely, difficult place. But, for me, this disaster in Oklahoma has given me a bit of perspective. Yes, not knowing whether I’ll ever be a mother is probably the hardest thing I have ever faced. But, I still have so many good things in my life that will keep me moving forward, regardless of whether or not I ever become a mother. I always reminded my students of something my mother always reminded me: Life isn’t fair and no one promised it would be. Those folks in Oklahoma have seen firsthand how extraordinarily unfair life often is. I need to remember that I still have it pretty good, even on the bad days.

Today my heart and mind are with those folks in Oklahoma, trying to heal physically and mentally after such an ordeal. I’m sure many of this across the country feel the same. I’m going to hold those dear to me just a little bit closer and let them know how much they mean to me. Because, even if I never have a child, my life is already full of blessings.


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