Pay attention to life’s gifts, always keep your head up

Lucas Eide Columnist

Do we ever really, and I mean really, think about how much we are thankful for?  Do we ever seriously consider how lucky we are and how great we have it?  I had the most humbling opportunity at a Common Read seminar last week to sit and listen to a panel of student/community veterans as they shared their memories and passed along their advice.  The testimonies were absolutely outstanding.  The panelists covered a very wide variety of subjects, ranging from their past experiences of being on the front lines of battle to medically caring for soldiers.  Overall, however, one message really struck me.  This message expressed the act of taking things for granted.

Often times, we forget all of the things that we’ve been blessed with over the years.  Some generic ones for me are family, friends, and security.  Things taken for granted by some are becoming harder and harder to come by these days, such as decent jobs, loving families, and financial security.  These things are more for the common men and women that live in our country today, but because I come from a rural background, I tend to wonder about the agriculturalists of the world.  What are they thankful for?

For almost all of us that grew up in an agricultural setting, we’ve learned that no matter what time of the year, there will always be problems, such as calving messes, breakdowns in planting or harvesting, sick livestock, terrible heat waves and the miserable and soon-to-come winter blizzards.  Some days are better than others, but I never expect things to go perfectly, otherwise I’m just going to find myself disappointed.  

However, I conclude that terrible things can teach us so much.  A couple of those things specifically are how special it is to have family during scary times, how important it is to live in a community when a person needs to rely on others if something turns to the bad side, and help is only just a phone call away.

To conclude, I’d like to recite a little story that happened to my hometown of Clear Lake, South Dakota.  The town was hit with extreme windstorms in the third week of June.  Grain silos tipped, grain bins were uplifted off their foundations, sheds caved in, trees littered the streets, and peoples’ cars and campers were completely demolished.  This weather episode looked like a war zone for a couple days.  But when all of that was taken out of effect, we were still left with the things that really mattered to us, such as the three things stated earlier: family, a reliable community, and help just a phone call away.

We are given abstract assets in life that are often overlooked and that we often take for granted.  The lesson that I’ve learned in life is that no matter how terrible things get for me, or how unfair life is, I try to discover and find the things that I do have and that make my life worth living.  Don’t ever take for granted the blessings and gifts that are given to you.


Luke Eide is majoring in agricultural business. He can be reached at [email protected]