What’s Valuable to You?

Who does not thank for little will not thank for much. ~Estonian proverb

The other day, Monkey and I were walking along when a truck pulled up beside us, slowed, and its window slid open.

‘I’ll give you $15 for that dog,’ said the stranger with a twinkle in his eye.

I thought about it for a half-second, then replied, ‘You know, there are days — like when I have to pick up this (and I showed him Monkey’s filled poop-bag) that I might take you up on that offer.’

We had a nice chuckle before he drove off.

The encounter left me pondering how much — or how little — we actually value things in our lives.

No doubt, all of us have struggled through two incredibly difficult years. The COVID pandemic (which isn’t completely over still), rising inflation, supply chain woes, the ongoing conflict in the Ukraine, all sorts of challenging weather conditions, and so on have led many of us to stop watching or reading the news for fear of what’s next.

But ask yourself: Would I take a nickel to trade places with anybody? To toss away the things I have — the people and pets who love me, my education, my job, my health, my home — in favor of accepting those things from somebody else?

I know I wouldn’t.

How can you put a price tag on love? Or loyalty? Or talent? How can you not be grateful for the air you breathe, the food on your table, the water flowing from your faucet, the electricity lighting your home and office? Even if they’re old, how can you fail to be thankful for the vehicle that gets you from one place to another, the clothes you have hanging in your closet, the fact that you even have a closet?

We’re told that “Gratitude is an attitude,” and I firmly believe that. To grumble and complain that we don’t have more — when so many have far less — feels like the gravest of sins to me.

So no. Monkey’s not for sale. He might be troublesome at times, but I’m growing attached to his Monkey Business!

…we can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasure… ~Thornton Wilder, Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist and playwright

27 thoughts on “What’s Valuable to You?

  1. I agree with you! It’s so easy to take things like food, clothing, shelter and cars for granted when most people on this planet have so little. And if we’re lucky to have a loving family, devoted pets and circle of friends we do have more than enough to be grateful for. 🙏

    • Thanks so much, Barbara. I’m probably “preaching to the choir” here, but perhaps we all need to be reminded of just how much we have to be thankful for (and not just at Thanksgiving, either!)

  2. Ditto, Debbie! Even with all the things going on in this country, I too would not trade places with anybody because one of the the major things I’ve learned over these past two and half years is rediscovering the “good” in my life. And it also forced me to look around and see the “good” in others.

    “How can you not be grateful for the air you breathe, the food on your table, the water flowing from your faucet, the electricity lighting your home and office?”

    YES, to all of those!

    As negative as it’s been at times, I’ve been able to find the positive in these past two and half years. It’s almost as if I’ve been “rebooted” and am seeing with new eyes. Gratitude has taken on a whole new meaning for me.

    LOVED this post, my friend. And thanks so much for sharing it because it needed to be said.

    And thank your for being in my life! X

    • Ron, I think we all might need a good “reboot” every now and then … if for no other reason than to make us appreciative of what’s important in our lives. We tend to take things — and possibly people — for granted, when nothing is guaranteed to any of us. They’re “gifts,” not our due!

      I’m glad to learn you enjoyed this one. It came about most unexpectedly, but when that man offered to buy my Monkey right out from under me, I knew this needed to be said. Have a wonderful week! xx

  3. Add me to the list of those who loved this post. I have been thinking along the same lines as you have in the past few days. It must be the confluence of events that leads to this kind of introspection. This especially resonated with me: “We’re told that ‘Gratitude is an attitude,’ and I firmly believe that. To grumble and complain that we don’t have more — when so many have far less — feels like the gravest of sins to me.” Also really like what Ron wrote in the comments: “It’s almost as if I’ve been ‘rebooted’ and am seeing with new eyes.” The pandemic, Putin, flawed humanity, brave humanity—the past two years have been illuminating. Sometimes painfully so, but perhaps that is the way with illumination.

    • Thank you, Laurie. I think it’s times like these that make creative people (artists, writers, musicians, etc.) more introspective. Maybe some of our best work comes from difficult times — on the other hand, what do I know? I haven’t written much of anything since the blasted pandemic began, ha! Well, maybe somebody has created something of importance over these two years!

  4. What a great reminder for all of us, Debbie. There is so much comfort, beauty and goodness in this world we can be grateful for. We can shift our focus and see that. xoxo

    • Thanks, Kathy. I’ve come to see that grumbling can be contagious. One person in a group starts grousing, and the others are quick to pick it up. Before long, the mood is dark and full of despair. Sometimes it’s harder to shine a light on what’s good (especially these past two years!), but we need to try to find that sunshine!

    • All of us do, Eliza. And since we’ve been so gifted, it’s incumbent on us to be thankful. All the time. Especially when we don’t feel like! Thank you for dropping by.

  5. We all need to be satisfied with the blessings we have. Ukraine will cease to exist in a few months and we all should think about that when we become dissatisfied with our life. Thanks, Debbie. Super post.

    • John, I do hope you’re wrong about Ukraine. Democracy might not be the best form of governance ever devised, but it’s the best our planet has come up with thus far. And to think of a democracy being bullied to death makes me sad … for the people of Ukraine, of course, but for the rest of our globe, too. You can’t help but wonder, Who’s next?

  6. Nope, no amount of money in the world would persuade me to sell Tommy, even if there are days – usually around 4 a.m. – when I could cheerfully strangle him! 😂 I always think it’s sad that so many people see money as an indicator of success. Obviously we all need enough to survive and a little extra for cake is nice, but beyond that it doesn’t make much difference to happiness levels, I think. Certainly all these troubled celebrities don’t make me feel fame and fortune is something to envy.

    • Amen to that! I’ve never believed having tons of money is a sure recipe for happiness. Yes, having enough for the basics — plus a bit extra for the niceties — is grand, but I’ve seen too many people rolling in cash that are completely miserable (worrying about taxes, fearing that nobody likes them for who they are, etc.). Great points, FF!

    • Since the offerer didn’t seem particularly happy with the idea of having to pick up Monkey’s poop, I suspect he couldn’t get away from us fast enough, ha! A pet always seems like a great idea … until you face up to the responsibilities.

  7. And what’s most interesting to me is how easily people can be convinced to sell their own souls — their convictions, their most cherished beliefs, their understanding of the world — to whoever rolls up in a fancy car. The people most committed to the ‘cancel culture’ know that. Too many people are willing to stay silent in the face of criticism or false accusations; for good examples, see the Salem Witch Trials or the House Un-American committee hearings. And too many people are willing to live as dependents on others in exchange for the illusion of ‘safety.’

    Well. You get my point. It was easy for you to resist that offer to buy Monkey because it was so obvious! Not everything is so obvious, and it’s good to have your experience to remind us of that.

    • Thanks, Linda. I tend to believe that most people would turn my poor Monkey loose after a day or so of his Monkey Business, whether it’s herding them in the house, yowling, or barking when they sneeze! I’m getting acclimated to him after a year now, and I’m working on eradicating those annoying habits. It’s harder to eradicate people’s desire for comfort and ‘safety’ at whatever cost.

  8. Well said Debbie and a great reminder to be grateful for all we have that we take for granted everyday. With the ever increasing devastation in Ukraine, not a day goes by that I forget to remember how fortunate I am to be living where I am with all the liberties that I enjoy. I am so glad that you would never consider selling Monkey. I so enjoy reading about his exploits.

    • Thanks, Pat. Just to be able to get outside, where it’s peaceful and calm, is a blessing. Can you even imagine how awful it must be knowing a bomb could blast through your home at any moment??

  9. Pingback: Friday Favorites: The Consolation of Nature | Notes From the Hinterland

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