Being Thankful on the Darkest Days of the Year

cooper trail map

My dad used to ski hard. He skied at the top ten percent of his ability. When I was a kid, he would barrel down the mountain, then stop and wait for me and my mom as we leisurely drifted back and forth across the hill. He always waited for us, but when he was going, he went fast.

When I was in my 20’s, my dad was working at Vail and broke his leg in 4 places. My mom got a call from the hospital that he was going into surgery.

I wasn’t living at home anymore, and I was out of the loop for his surgery and recovery and rehab. It all feels very distant, cloudy.

One thing that stands out is a phone conversation with my mom, where she said, “all my prayers are of thanksgiving.”

At the time I was baffled. Being thankful? He shattered his leg?! How can you be thankful?

Accidents happen, and when you ski at the top ten percent of your ability, sometimes you miscalculate. This was before helmets were very common, and Daddy didn’t use one. He could have been killed, or had a traumatic brain injury,  There’s a reason for gratitude.

He could have crashed anyplace other than Vail, which is famous for its orthopedic surgeons. Since it’s a ski town, it’s a great place for orthos to practice.  He could have died in surgery, or had to have been airlifted out to Denver, and crashed in the helicopter. Another reason for gratitude.IMG_3055

On these short dark days in the northern hemisphere, it is easy to worry. To look at the bad things that have happened and bemoan our fate. However, we can use gratitude to turn that around, as an antidote to worry. We can choose to look at what we have, and be thankful, rather than complaining about what we haven’t got.

My dad recovered, and was able to ski again the next season, and the rest of his life. Another reason to be grateful.

Where are you finding light in the darkness these days? Please share.

I want to remind people that I’m in a book- I wrote a few essays in Musings of a Yoga Community, a collection of stories by the group of women I practice yoga with- I’m really proud of it, and I hope you’ll grab a copy. If you are local to Northern Colorado, there are copies available at Wildroots Apothecary, and at Dream of Flight Yoga Studio, both in Loveland. If you are far away,  you can order from State of Grace Yoga.


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