Running On Empty

There are those days that nothing seems to go right and you’re chasing down a hopeless battle. We all have them. Those days can start to suck the life-force from your soul… like in the movie ‘Cocoon’ when all the retirees jumped into the pool and sucked the life-force from the aliens in the cocoons. Life-draining moments live within us all.

Photo from the movie ‘Cocoon ‘.

Did you know the movie reference?

Great movie.

Thursday was Thanksgiving and it was a busy day traveling out to Lake Tahoe for a celebration of thanks, a celebration of life for my sons’ eleventh birthday and a celebration of life’s memory for my husband who passed away after a three-year cancer battle one year ago. What a combination of celebrations.

My husband a few years before his cancer diagnosis.

We had reservations at the Lone Eagle Grill at Incline Village in Lake Tahoe for our Thanksgiving dinner. The weather turned from clear skies to snow as it fell and flocked the massive pine trees that lined the road and made our first views of Lake Tahoe a moving and breathtaking experience. We were in awe of the views; mesmerized and quieted at the stunning beauty that enveloped us. What a magnificent time and place.

We enjoyed our dinner, the conversations with strangers soon to be friends, the views, the food, the ambiance and the character of the decadent surroundings. It was amazing.

View from Lone Eagle Grill Incline Village
Thanksgiving Dinner: Make Your Own Cookie Bar

We were thankful. Thanksgiving is for gratitude and we honored our annual tradition to each offer what we were most grateful for in the year. My son spoke last and he said, “I’m am thankful for everything because that’s what it is to be truly grateful. Even the challenges.”

Words of an eleven-year-old so excited to be a tween yet viewing the world in a once-around, old-soul fashion.

It’s true.

We sat at the door of the new and the memories of the past next to this great, big, crystal blue lake.

To find gratitude for the good and the difficult: It’s so easy to be thankful when everything is going our way and it takes a moment in the heart of heartbreak, despair and sorrow to find the beauty and the lesson the struggles share within the journey.

I was running on empty. I was struggling against the life-draining experiences. I was hiding in my cocoon hoping time would distance myself from the pain of the loss while keeping a smile for my children.

My son was right… you have to be thankful… for everything.

We got to say goodbye.

I was there celebrating Thanksgiving, celebrating a birthday and celebrating life but I wasn’t celebrating the lessons we’ve learned as a family from our losses until that moment my son said, “you have to be thankful for everything.”

Within the loss; gains. Within the loss; lessons. Within the loss; growth. Without the loss my son may have never learned how to be truly thankful and to teach his mother exactly what it means to be thankful.

Up hundreds of steps we took a rest on a bench and looked to see my husbands name carved in the wood of the handrail.

We all have those days that get us down and challenge us to the depths of our existence. It can go a long way down.

Now in those depths I think of sitting by the shore of Lake Tahoe. Sitting by a lake that I think is the third deepest lake in the world… but, that lake is crystal clear and there’s beauty at the bottom.

When you’re running on empty take a moment and remind yourself there are things to be grateful for within the hardships. The gratitude doesn’t offer a cure but the change in perspective just might. And, at the very least… it might take you from running on empty to feeding your soul.

I’m thankful. I wrote this post with a cat purring on my lap, my dog snoring in her bed and my kids tucked in bed. They are healthy. They are happy. We have hope in this journey.

Visit me on Instagram @bruceadrianne

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