It’s a day after the day we’re supposed to give thanks, but we should find at least one reason to give thanks for something every day.
I’m giving thanks today.
You know those nasty goat’s head thorns that cause all kinds of trouble when you step on them or when you ride a bicycle over them? Think in terms of riding a bike when it comes to those sharp, tough little buggers. You’re cruising along, and before you know it you find yourself with a flat tire. You don’t know why until you take a closer look at the tire.
I’ve been keeping a few of those buggers on my desk since I went out to Cromwell Lane in October to cover the groundbreaking for the second state Veterans Cemetery. I parked in a field across the road from the cemetery that October day, and on the walk back to my vehicle I felt something poking my foot. I thought it might have been a piece of gravel, but on closer inspection I found what it was.
Goat’s head. A bunch of them.
I’ve kept a few of those on my desk since then, almost as a reminder. I didn’t give an awful lot of thought as to what they’d remind me of, but now something’s come to me.
Bear with me.
It’s now been almost a year to the day since I was cruising along in a place in my life where things were going ... okay. But then, like a goat’s head getting picked up in a tire, things suddenly and dramatically went flat.
Amazing how these “thorns” that can come up in our lives without notice or warning can disrupt things so quickly, so dramatically. But they do. We can either choose to move on and recover from it or we can decide we’re never climbing on that bike again.
When that “thorn” came up and bit me nearly a year ago, I chose to move on and recover.
I heard a great quote not that long ago in an interview that fits very well: “You don’t pick your battles, but you pick how you fight them.”
I chose to move on, to recover, nearly a year ago. The time of the year with the holidays coming up made it tougher, but the battle went on. I looked at a bunch of different options. I looked at places where I could put my work experience to good use. I looked at driving a food delivery truck, interviewed for it, but that didn’t pan out.
I’d looked for a couple of years even before moving back home to Idaho at trying to get on as an Idaho National Laboratory bus driver, applied a few times, and nothing came of it.
A few of us looked at a non-paying job with the hope that it could turn into a paying job. We were starting something from scratch, but I still kept looking for something that would help pay the bills.
And then, out of the blue, I got an interview for an INL bus driving job. That was a turning point, kind of like picking up a goat’s head thorn in reverse. The thorn was gone. I could breathe that air again.
Opportunities popped up. In one day, I had two job offers. I had a choice to make.
Here I am. In fact, maybe just a week into where I landed here, I got a call from the folks at the INL offering a chance to train as a bus driver. I had to tell them I’d already found a place. Things are better now than they were nearly a year ago. And I’m giving thanks, to my family, to my friends, to anyone who stood by me after that “thorny” experience.
Things were a bit dark nearly a year ago, but here I am.
”You don’t pick your battles, but you pick how you fight them.”
Fight them well.