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Carrie S. Brusven, Areavoices.com blogger, Published November 23 2011

Areavoices: Taking some time to count blessings

You know the saying “It never rains but it pours?” It’s usually used with a negative connotation but I think it well describes the influx of blessings in my life over the past few months.

Just 10 weeks ago our family moved out of our very cute little character house in Fargo and the very scary neighborhood it sat in and moved into a little sturdier house in a fantastic neighborhood in Moorhead. And just eight weeks ago today, my husband and I welcomed our second son into the world.

I, like most people, feel especially aware of my blessign at this time of year. But last week, these blessings, though they may seem basic – a house, a job, a family – felt even more precious to me than ever before.

Last Friday afternoon, consumed by a to-do list that threatened to bring me to my knees and a headache to match it, my biggest concern was making it through the last half-hour of the work day. I was completely unprepared for the couple who walked out of the cold and into my office, looking for help.

I work in a church in Moorhead so it is not uncommon for people who are down on their luck to come through looking for financial help. This couple needed a place to stay for the night and for various reasons could not pay for a hotel room or get into a shelter.

I offered them my list of shelters and other organizations in town they might turn to for help, and a mixture of tears, frustration and fear pooled in his eyes as he looked it over and told me they had already tried all those places. As I listened to their story I learned that their biggest concern was that they not be split up for the night. The woman would have been able to get into a shelter in town, but because his wallet had been stolen and he didn’t have his ID, the man could not get in. They told me all they had left in the world was each other and they were not going to separate, even for a night.

We called around to see if anyone else had funds to help but the fact was that it was just before 5 p.m. on a Friday and everyone was closed or closing for the weekend or out of funds like we were. Alone in the building, I wondered what else I could do for them. In the end, I watched them walk back out into the cold.

By now I was late picking up my kids from day care and my husband from work and I hadn’t finished any of the things on my huge to-do list that had seemed so important only an hour before. As I drove through town I couldn’t shake an awful feeling of helplessness and shame and the thought of the long, cold night these two were facing. How lucky and blessed I am to have a home to go to. And how lucky and blessed I am to have a family to be there with.

The biggest blessings in our lives don’t have anything to do with all the stuff we fill our homes and our lives with, the stuff we spend our money and time and earthly resources on. To be alive and to have a beautiful family to share my life with are incredible blessings, and I noticed that I’ve been holding them all a little tighter and a little longer this past week.

Carrie S. Brusven is an Eco Consultant who maintains the “Color Me Green” blog at colormegreen.areavoices.com.