What Might Have Been

Thinking about gratitude...
A fearsome list of possibilities, and a thankful prayer about things unseen.

In a house with four boys, there are an infinite amount of probable crises that might happen, at any moment. Our days have contained skate ramps, new drivers' permits, rocket experiments, zip lines, sleeping bag stairway races, rock climbing, snow sleds racing downhill between trees. And that's just a short list. Somehow we've made it 19 years without one broken bone or any stitches among 4 brothers. There isn't a reasonable explanation for that fact. And every time I speak it, I also say, "And, surely, this must be our year." With so much daily potential for disaster, I am grateful for the many things that didn't happen.

A Scarey Fall. A few years back, my two oldest sons were back country skiing up on Pikes Peak. 'Back Country' skiing or snowboarding happens on less-traveled trails in National Forest or 'back country' -- not at a ski hill or resort. Equipment get loaded on a backpack and open downhill space is found by hiking into the mountains. While traversing across the top of a long slope in search of a good run, Andrew and Ty hit black ice. Ty's foot slipped. He was sent sliding down a steep slope toward sharp rocks. He grabbed an embeded boulder and came to a quick stop. Andrew had reflexively reached to grab Ty during the slide. His foot also hit ice hidden under the snow. The older son slid past the younger and kept going, speeding toward the boulder field. Long story short, Andrew was also able to grab a boulder and stop before falling and slamming into a rock field. Dangerous injuries didn't happen. The brothers ice-picked their way back up to the trail and called it safely 'quits' for the day.

My list of things that might have been includes stitches, broken bones, and death on a mountain. But it's so much more .... terminal illness, a son stolen from the bathroom at the mall, a crippling fall from the tree house, the car that didn't stop in the school crosswalk, the fatal poisoning, the devastating house fire, and that long deadly slide my two sons made down black ice on Pikes Peak. In that list I begin to glimpse all the possible things that could have happened, but didn’t. And, I am grateful for many bullets missed.

My list of "might-have-beens" contains things that have actually happened to some of you. Your list probably contains some things that have happened to me. We have all had our share of tragedy, heartbreak, and challenge: some, a lot more than others. But so much more hasn’t happened … so much.

So, in response,
I want to express an out loud prayer of thanks to my generous God.
I am grateful for all the uncountable gifts of protection that have gone unseen,
granted by an invisible hand for unknown purposes.
I am thankful for all that might have been,
but wasn't.


Rita said...

Kelley, With 4 of our own kids and now grandkids, the list of what might have beens is longer thgan I'd even like to think. God is so good and has kept us from many dangers that we know of and many we may not even be aware of. Have a great Thanksgiving and blessings to you all!

Kleigh said...

Happy Thanksgiving right back to you, Rita!
I'm grateful to have your wisdom on The Spill!