Count Your Blessings

BY: Kate Nowak

A story from May You Be Blessed

One Texas-hot day when I was no more than five or six, I went with my uncle and two of his friends to pick watermelons. Probably less than an acre in size, the field where the melons grew appeared never-ending to me, every inch of the ground covered in a tangle of vines, with huge, gray-green fruits scattered among the leaves as far as my eyes could see.

As soon as we arrived at the field, one of my uncle’s friends pulled an especially big melon from its vine and placed it in a large cooler filled with ice. Then, while I sat watching, perched on top of the cooler in the shade of a nearby tree, the three men harvested the entire field, filling the back of our old truck until the oval fruits were stacked as high as could possibly be without danger of rolling out. Afterwards, while all of us clustered in the shade, my uncle cut open that first melon, now icy cold, and sliced it into segments as big around as dinner plates and as thick as a man’s wrist. Further cutting a segment down to a more manageable size, he handed me a piece of the chilled fruit and with juice dripping down my chin and arms, I soon discovered a passion for watermelon that has lasted until this day.

So about a year ago, when I discovered that my local supermarket was carrying little hybridized watermelons, sized just right for one person, I was delighted. I bought one to try, found it perfect; and immediately began adding the little melons to my weekly shopping list. I even wrote about my discovery in my gratitude journal. Having my favorite fruit packaged for one by nature and readily available year around, was, to me, most certainly a blessing worth counting.

Then one day in early February, perhaps six or seven weeks after I’d made my initial discovery, I was doing my weekly grocery shopping, swung my cart down the produce aisle to grab a few of the melons, and found the bin where they’d been kept empty. Wanting to know where they’d been moved, I sought out a stocker. They hadn’t been moved, she told me. They had been sold. There would be another shipment arriving later in the week.

Later in the week! I inwardly cried, suddenly feeling like a petulant child being deprived of a favored treat. I didn’t want to wait until later in the week. I wanted my favorite little melons NOW!

And then the silliness of my thinking dawned on me. For most of my life, watermelon had been a summer treat only, growing only in those few months of the year when the daily temperatures soar high enough to insure perfect sweetness. Now here I was, in the middle of winter, bemoaning the fact that I couldn’t have one. In that instant I realized how quickly I’d stopped counting those melons as a blessing and had started, instead, to take them for granted.

When I left the store a few minutes later, I took out the small notebook and pen I carry in my purse and wrote the date at the top of a blank page. Below that I wrote, “Today I am grateful for all those things that go missing because their absence reminds me of how blessed I am to have had them at all.”

Someone quite wise once told me I should look at everything as if I were seeing it for the very first and very last time. In a world where we are constantly pushed and prodded into acquiring more and being more, establishing such a mindset has not been easy. I have discovered, however, that when applied wholeheartedly, looking at everything in such a way truly does turn what I have into more than enough.

I thought of this as I left the parking lot that day. I knew I would find those perfect little melons waiting for me the next time I came to the store, and I did. I knew, too, that when once again experienced, I would find the taste of my favorite fruit infinitely sweeter than before, and it was.

Two more blessings for the counting.

May you always have blessings to count, even in those times when there doesn’t appear to be one.

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