Giving thanks for the three F’s

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Now that the sun has dipped below the equator and autumn has officially arrived, my thoughts turn to all the bounty that our warmer months provided. A colourful flower garden a-buzz with bees and my husband’s harvest of home-grown garlic first come to mind. But, what’s really coming into my awareness these first few days of fall is the abundance of family, friends, and fellowship with which I am so generously blessed.

Family, friends, and fellowship — that’s what I call our 3Fs. And, just like our flowers and food, our 3Fs need care and attention, too. Some need more, some need less, and some are like those amazing desert plants which can go for years without anything and then show up in a burst of glory at the mere mention of their names. Always present in our hearts, although not necessarily always in our presence, that’s how it is with 3Fs.

The older we get, if we’re lucky, the more family, friends, and acquaintances we’ll collect along our way. The more, the merrier. I believe the bigger our circle of 3Fs, the better off we are.

Because everyone, it seems, has their own role to play in our lives. Some 3Fs fight for our rights, like my older brother who would scare off any bully who tried to harm me. Or like my friends who understand all too well just how our societal, political, and economic systems work (or don’t), making it very clear just how my life is better (or worse) as a result. I am also grateful for my maven friends, in other words the specialists, for times when I need detailed information or instructions. Many of my friends are also very good at effecting change in our world, helping us show up in more heart-centered, inclusive, thoughtful, kind, resilient, and humanitarian ways.

Then there are those 3Fs who are there for us when our souls are in trouble, or when we need comfort and healing. Most often it is a close family member or best friend who helps in this way, but not always. Sometimes it is the singular kindness of a stranger that has the power to awaken our hearts to what is good in life again. And how many times has the helping hand of a neighbour made it possible to weather life’s unexpected twists and turns? In my case, I can gratefully say many, many times.

Our animal friends seem to instinctively know how to care for us in their own way. Whether it’s a kitten’s warm and soothing cuddles, a playful romp with a fun-loving canine, or an invigorating ride on horseback to clear the cobwebs, I have known the joy and comfort that comes with being in the company of animals. It is a gift for which I am profoundly appreciative. As for the fellowship of others who aren’t in your close circle, this kind of support often shows up in service and special interest clubs, or when participating as a volunteer. The power of working with a group can make a difficult or overwhelming task—whether fighting pollution or learning how to grow a vegetable garden—all of a sudden not so intimidating and entirely possible. No matter how diverse a group’s collective backgrounds and beliefs may be, there is a lot to be said for the support found in fellowship.

When it comes to my 3Fs, my dearest wish is this: that I am able to share with them just as much, and hopefully more, as they so willingly share with me. Giving thanks for all the family, friends, and fellowship we have in our lives—now that’s in our best interest.

For more in your best interest, follow Sheelagh @sheesays or visit www.ideagarden.net.

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