Taken for Granted

“to take for granted”– v. to fail to properly appreciate someone or something, often as a result of overfamiliarity

18 hours of my Saturday were spent with no electricity and talk about annoying, but what was even more annoying to me was just how annoyed I was at the inconvenience of not having electricity. Like come on Shelby, 1. you will survive, 2. it could be much worse, and 3. get over yourself. So this led me to do some thinking.

Saturday morning around 5:00, a tornado ripped through my small town taking a path just 75ish yards from my house. It took with it a few roofs, a few vehicles, a couple of sheds, and unfortunately a home or two; however, it took no lives, thanks be to God. It left behind a MESS, like an absolute mess, but it also left behind a sense of hope, an unquestioned call to action, and a barrel of laughs- you’re probably like “what? laughs?” but I’m serious, my Saturday that would have likely been spent refreshing Instagram for hours followed by some job hunting and potentially some movie-watching turned into one filled with plenty of raking, some wheelbarrowing (is that a word), sandwich eating in the dark, and more dirt under my freshly painted fingernails than I’d hoped, BUT it also turned into extra time with the grandparents, hours outside, and a renewed sense of hope in humanity and pride in the people by whom I’m surrounded.

So I’ve said before that I’m from a small town, 1,178 people to be exact, and I’m telling you, you will find no place like this place. Small towns in Louisiana have something special to offer that I’ve seen no where else, these people love life, love each other, and love love more strongly than I’ve seen anywhere else in the world; I’ve witnessed this in my town of Paulina, in surrounding towns of LaPlace and Lutcher, and in other Louisiana towns such as New Iberia and Erath, which are a bit down the road. Whether in good times or in bad, I’m telling you, these people are the cream of the crop.

The people that make up our towns are givers, they will cook a huge batch of jambalaya and deliver it to people working to pick up debris, they will spend hours helping neighbors to pick up the remnants of their life that happens to be scattered around the area, they will offer for strangers to shower in their homes because they live on the one street that has power. They are resilient, time and time again our little town gets smacked upside the head by the forces of nature, but the spirit with which our town fights back moves me to tears every. single. time. They are fun, despite the melancholy feel surrounding Saturday’s clean-up day, the energy was high, the music was rolling, and the laughs were never-ending; the feeling of optimism was tangible and while the day was so so sad, these people can make even the toughest days enjoyable.

It shouldn’t have to take a disaster like this tornado to remind me just how lucky I am to have a roof over my head, a supportive family and community surrounding me, and things such as hope and faith and trust in the future. So I encourage you my friends, don’t take this week for granted. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring- enjoy the sunshine, smell the flowers, tell those around you how much they mean to you, eat the extra cookie(s), watch the movie you’ve been dying to see, take advantage of every second and take a few minutes each day to reflect on just how lucky you are. Sure there are likely things causing you stress and turmoil, but couldn’t things be much worse? Try to recognize just how blessed you are.

So I leave you with this thought for the week- “what if you woke up this morning and had only the things you thanked God for yesterday?”. I hope that it helps you to live each day to the fullest with your eyes optimistically placed on the future while taking full advantage of the present and taking time to reflect on the past. Even though it is SO easy to do so, don’t take a single moment for granted.

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Find joy in every minute my friends, I know you can do it!

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