I just got off the phone with my mother-in-law who shared some very tragic news. Someone close to us has chosen to end her battle with a long-term illness leaving behind a husband and children. Now in hospice care, they huddle tightly together, clinging to their last moments as a family. Our hearts hurt.
It gives me some perspective because as difficult as adjusting to urban living has been, we still have every member of our family alive and well. We face some challenges, but all of the Cook Family challenges are 1st world problems. I need a re-framing revolution of my worries:
Instead of griping about making FOUR DIFFERENT grocery treks in one week, I am thankful I not only have money to buy the groceries, but also the ability to navigate my way through hot subways and crowded streets to whole foods markets where the prices are less and the food quality better and the stores SO MUCH cleaner than my neighborhood FoodTown.
Rather than complaining about what the humidity does to my hair and my general demeanor, I must choose gratefulness for the window unit in my bedroom. (Truly…it saved our marriage.)
Instead of worrying about Matthew walking a block to and from school by himself if I don’t find a job that allows me to work from home, I want to be thankful that our 5th grader is a level-headed young man we can trust to get himself safely home, eat a handful of chips and red peppers, and then begin his homework. Thank you, Lord, that Matthew can walk and think and run and laugh…and build amazing spaceships and super heroes with Legos.
Rather than losing sleep over all the known dangers that lurk in this city for a blond, 15-year-old girl traveling the subway alone, I choose joyful confidence in a young lady that loves to be independent, that needed a place to spread her wings and believe that New York is just that place. So tomorrow Kori will leave home at 7am, travel from W. 153rd to E. 22nd to meet a brand new soccer coach and go with him to her very first practice on Randall’s Island. She’s attending School of the Future beginning 9/9. She’ll make this trek every day, a journey that involves two transfers on the way to school and three on the way home from soccer practice. She will compete on Randall’s Island and Central Park and eat lunch in the shadow of the Empire State Building and along Park Avenue. Lord, help me be thankful for this experience, and a young lady more than ready to take her bite out of the Big Apple.
We are still not sure how we will pay for the last year of Anna’s college. Washington and Jefferson is not cheap. But our girl is graduating in four years with a Math degree and hopes to teach in underserved schools. We have no need to fear or complain. She’s healthy and vibrant and more than capable of taking the next steps into adulthood.
My husband started work today at HERO High, where he is now the department lead. (I’m not surprised and so very proud of him.) His classroom does not have a working smart board, there’s a leftover copier taking up needed space in the classroom, and he’s not sure if the air conditioner works. This is clearly not upper middle class white America. But it’s
a mission and he gets paid to help kids learn, to help teenagers hope for a better future, to believe in them when every surrounding circumstance tells them they cannot succeed, they cannot escape poverty, they cannot dream. This is so much more than a job and it’s much more than a living wage.
Yep. Every mountain in the Cook Family life is really a sign of how privileged we really are. I’m guessing that’s true for most of you reading this blog. Please, please, take a moment to re-frame your worries. You might even post them. That’s it! Let’s start a revolution. Let’s call it the THE RE-FRAMING REVOLUTION. Ready? GO!