There’s so much rain here this morning, the tree branches are drooping low above the deck – so low that I would have to dodge them if I went outside.
But you’ll get no complaints from me – as my mother would remind us children when we wouldn’t eat our vegetables: “Be thankful! Children in some parts of the world are starving.”
Indeed, I am thankful that we have enough food and that it is raining. I’m also aware that people in some parts of the world are in the grip of a punishing heat wave or drought, and that, even in the “developed” countries, some children don’t have enough to eat. How we take care of each other and how we take care of the earth (so she will take care of us in return) are twin issues we still haven’t sorted out as a species.
In the last few weeks, I’ve also had reason to look closer to home. At my husband, who continues to support me, his children, grandchild and his mother and still does volunteer work to help make others’ lives better.
Recently, a not-for-profit organization he’s chaired through the last 3 challenging years honoured him for his leadership at a dinner in downtown Toronto.
Director after director stood up to praise Hamlin for his outstanding leadership during this challenging time – the kind of leadership which some said they’d never experienced before.
But it was the incoming chair’s reference to Hamlin as a real-life Armand Gamache (main character in Louise Penny’s Three Pines series) that moved me almost to tears. I understood the reference right away because I’ve read all Louise Penny’s novels and admire the fictional Canadian police inspector Gamache, but it never occurred to me that the qualities I admired about Gamache were qualities my own partner also possessed.
I should have known. Armand Gamache is a thoughtful, courageous, and wise leader who asks the right questions in tough situations. He takes care of his team, and in his private life, is a dedicated father and grandfather, a good friend, and a lover of literature and the arts. He carries some old wounds. He occasionally makes personal and professional mistakes, but acknowledges and works to correct them. But his values are solid.
Later, the speaker, Yvon, privately explained to me further why he thinks Hamlin and Gamache are so alike. I kept my composure – barely. Yes, I agreed: Gamache and my husband are alike in the ways that matter. It just took someone else to point out the similarities.
Later, I thought of all the other sacrifices my husband has made that his colleagues don’t even know about.
I look at this brave man who held the fort through the post-accident years, as my harrowing recovery dragged on and on and drove me to despair. He took over everything – the company we ran together, care of home, care of me. How did he ever sleep or rest?
Some days, I see the price he paid for being the strong one when I was at my weakest. He should be retired now, but all those treatment expenses, all those years of lost income, took their toll on us both. He should complain, but he rarely does. Some days I wish he would… Instead, he has made a practice of focusing on our blessings.
So this post started with gratitude for rain, the earth, and our blessings, and has become a thank-you for my husband.
Sometimes, your life’s greatest blessings are right there beside you.
I wish you a good week,