Is Your Tank Empty?

By Marcy Barthelette
As I write, it is November first. Halloween has come and gone with little fanfare in our neighborhood. The community is typically a beehive of activity on Halloween night. The streets are flooded with kids of all ages and lots of “older kids” as well. All the host families love seeing how the little ones are dressed. It was really hard for Ken to leave our front door shrouded in darkness this year. He absolutely loves Halloween, but it was just another holiday that slipped by nearly unnoticed in 2020.

I have often thought that this nasty virus paid us a visit, turning our lives upside down and inside out, because we needed time to slow down and, perhaps, adjust our priorities. However, it seems that, instead of looking for ways to keep positive and help others, folks are just plain tired and frustrated. Many of us are definitely running on empty when it comes to patience, tolerance and plain old common courtesy. If you don’t believe it, tune in to your favorite news channel. Better yet, don’t. You’d likely just be discouraged.

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. I Peter 5:7

Why not “channel” all that frustration and discouragement into a project or two? At our house, there is a lot to accomplish before winter seriously sets in. Ken is trying to keep ahead of the leaves. He’ll mow a few times and then finish off with the backpack mulcher. He also needs to fill some holes in the yard and dig up a bush or two. Yard work can be taxing, especially when I ask for something large to be dug, but he loves getting those last days of outdoor work in before it gets too cold. The hoses are put away and our crawl space vents have all been closed. He’s installed new smoke alarms and still needs to change furnace filters. He’s also keeping a close watch on the construction of our new Clever library branch. As a member of the board of trustees, he feels a keen responsibility toward that project, not to mention that he is naturally very curious.

Ken isn’t the only living creature who’s busy at work. Squirrels scamper constantly from tree to tree, rooftop to flowerpots, gathering acorns and storing them away for snow-covered winter days. They love to plant them in my giant pots that flank the front door. Next spring I’ll have a forest of oak trees sprouting in my pots and hungry squirrels digging frantically, looking much like little wind-up machines, in search of a hidden treat.

My part of the fall clean-up is the removal of plant debris from a collection of landscape beds. This is no small job in our yard. Everything is trimmed and bagged for disposal. Then my tools must all be cleaned and oiled before being stored away until spring When everything is trimmed back, we’ll need to add mulch in some places to keep all the roots protected during the long, cold winter. We’ll have it all bedded down by Thanksgiving.

That’s right, November is the month of thankfulness and before you say we have little to be thankful for, I have a suggestion. I have created a calendar of 31 days and plan to enter one thing that I’m thankful for each day. I may wake to a lovely surprise that will set a tone of thankfulness for my day or by evening be able to reflect on each day’s experiences to make a good choice for my gratitude. The objective is simply to find a bucketful of good things in my life and by the time I finish November, the season of Advent will have begun. All that thankfulness will prepare me to enter Advent with a loving and grateful heart. I can greet the birth of Jesus in reverence and humility. And I hope along the journey, I can find a lot more humanity around me.

When the peace of Christ rules in our hearts, thankfulness overflows. Psalm 145:18a

Many of us will be celebrating Thanksgiving differently this year so let’s get creative and find ways to share our day with those we love. Our youngest grandchild is already planning a meal at their home featuring dishes traditionally served by both her grandmothers. Their family will then add their own special touches, namely smoking the turkey, and new traditions will be born. We’ll share some Facetime and send each other photos of favorite foods. We plan to initiate a proposal to get both sets of grandparents together on Facetime with our kids and granddaughter to bless our meals and share the things that make us most grateful. It won’t be the same, but it will be wonderful if we let it. And therein lies the key to living with disappointment…be grateful for all you have, share with others and your tank will always be filled to overflowing.

Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. Psalm 106:1  

2 Responses to “Is Your Tank Empty?”

  1. Brenda Clark says:

    Marcy, as always, you give us very good food for thought! Thank you for your faithfulness to our newsletter!


    Marcy, thanks so much for the thoughts you share with us. You always remind me to look for the positives in everything instead of the negatives.

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