Brian Harmsen: Resilience. Practice. Gratitude. (And Coffee)

in Column/Brian Harsman

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It’s a wonderful catalyst for reflection within the window of time and quiet it creates if you’re to enjoy it properly. 

This storm has been a historic event. It’s probably beyond time that we recognize and accept that?  Study up on the Blizzard of ‘49. Twelve dead in Wyoming alone. Stranded passenger trains. Livestock losses. And MONTHS of winter to follow. Gain even a modest perspective on what you see around you today. 

I’m grateful that a friend still thinks to forward a short, daily devotional to me in the morning just in time for my first cup of coffee. Today’s heading:  “Resilience. Practice. Gratitude.”  

It goes on, essentially describing how people who practice gratitude experience higher degrees of positive emotion, are protected from destructive impulses, and cope more effectively with the stresses of everyday life.  While I most certainly fail in being grateful as often as anyone, it’s in times like these I best seem to find my footing again. 

God has blessed me. I managed to dig myself out. I have a warm home with uninterrupted heat and lights. I’m able to drive down my plowed rural road to the plowed highway. I have ample food. I have time to catch up on some things at work.

I have some bonus idle time to watch Charlie and Maggie chase bunnies. I have friends who’ve checked on me to see how I’m doing. While we’re kind of spread out here, I’m still able to help a neighbor whose blessings are different than mine.  I’ll get to fix some stuff I broke, but it’s probably also a blessing that I’ll help a business out once it warms up as well?

THE single most common statement I’ve heard us come back with from “the box” (Iraq/Afghanistan) is, “People here at home worry about the stupidest sh*t.”  The more I reflect, the more true it feels. 

Those destructive impulses and ineffective coping mechanisms manifest themselves in some of the Facebook posts I’m now reading. Anger that someone isn’t providing services faster, in spite of this being a historic storm. Frustration that lives are inconvenienced and interrupted. 

As well though, I see random posts directed to “whoever it was who plowed my driveway – thanks!,” “shout out to the linemen out there trying to restore power,” “look how bad the Interstates are – but there are our highway department crews out working.” 

You either have it – Or, you don’t.  You have a choice to “worry about stupid sh*t” – or not.  And if you can’t find something to be thankful for?  Well, you might just be focused on “stupid sh*t”?

Resilience. Practice. Gratitude. (and coffee). 

It’ll be a good day.

Col. Brian Harmsen (Retired) has appreciated and enjoyed our Wyoming outdoors as a resident of more than 40 years. He is originally from Sundance but has also lived in Laramie and Cheyenne.

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