Adversity, Faith and Gratitude

When experiencing adversity of some sort, it’s often difficult to find things to have gratitude for. That’s when we need to have faith that “This too shall pass” and that there are things in motion, good things coming to us that we cannot imagine. They are off our radar.

We don’t know what we don’t know. That’s a phrase that we can often read in inspirational books or hear from motivational speakers. It can be brushed off as a trite saying from the perpetually “glass-half-full” crowd, or it can be taken as a statement of faith, a reason to hope.

This week, we had a brilliant example of both gratitude for a touch of adversity and a clear demonstration of things in motion being off our radar, not knowing what we didn’t know. At the same time, an act of kindness that once again showed that there are still many good people around quietly doing good deeds.

Our Story of Gratitude from Adversity.


Lawn tractor in better times

Two weeks ago our trusty old lawn tractor finally gave up the struggle with our large lawn. We bought it second-hand for $500 in 2004. It didn’t owe us anything.

In Africa, lawn tractors were ridiculously expensive and rarely seen. Gardeners however were happy to spend hours pushing small power mowers up and down large lawns for affordable wages. It was much easier work than digging or other heavy manual labour.

With that mentality, we naturally bought a small motorised push mower when we first moved into this old farmhouse. We had no idea how long it would take to mow the large lawn and areas of grass around the barns. Nor did we appreciate how quickly grass grows in an Ontario summer.

Our downfall was that we had rarely pushed mowers ourselves, we had always paid gardeners to do that.

Before Sue arrived, I managed to cut the lawn a few times without too much difficulty. However by the time she arrived at the beginning of summer, I was too busy to do it, the grass was growing much quicker and it was very hot for the effort needed to push the mower.

That’s when we bought the lawn tractor.

Sue is one of those rare people who is equally good with animals and machines. She looked after her lawn tractor as well as her car. It had a shed to live in, the battery was taken out and the tyres raised off the concrete floor on to wooden boards each winter. I was not allowed to drive it. I find lawn mowing extremely boring, try to get it done as quickly as possible. Sue said I always drove it too fast.

That’s why the old tractor lasted so long.

The old lawn tractor had been in terminal decline for some time, it was using more oil than gas, getting hot and running badly. It was clear that its rings were worn, bearings on the way out too. In this throw-away age, it would have cost more to overhaul or replace the engine than buy another used machine.

Since arriving in Canada with our 2 suitcases and a saddle each, 6 cats and very little cash, we have had to budget very carefully, more so after my heart attack caused a drop in our income. Both our cars need some repairs, one needs tyres, so a new lawn tractor is not at the top of our priorities

While we were considering our options for replacing the lawn tractor, a neighbour lent us an old push type mower that had wheels driven by the motor. A bit better than a push model, but still hard work for Sue. That machine had been found in a barn and soon disintegrated.

We had given our original push mower to my son for his handkerchief size lawn in the next city. Over the years he had it, it had only done a few hours work. On Wednesday we went and collected it, I did a patch of lawn that evening, hard going.

Yesterday I had a meeting and did not get back until late. Sue had struggled in the heat all afternoon to finish the lawn.

When I got home, I saw that she had pushed the old tractor out of its shed, I wondered what she had done.

Sue told me to look in the shed, there was another lawn tractor.

Late in the afternoon, the owner of a small engine repair shop we use had arrived with the lawn tractor on his trailer. He unloaded it and told Sue it was a present from a concerned friend who had seen Sue struggling with the push mower, phoned him up to ask what used units he had for sale, paid for it and asked him to deliver it. He would not tell us who it was, but we have our suspicions.

Here’s what we learned about Faith, Gratitude and Adversity.

  • Adversity, the breakdown of the machinery caused a problem.
  • Faith, we had no idea how we would find that solution but knew we would.
  • Perseverance, we tried plan B, that failed, then plan C.
  • Gratitude, for an act of kindness.
  • Karma, we have tried to be good neighbours, help other people.
  • “This too shall Pass” nothing stays the same for too long, good or bad.

Our experience is a brilliant example of “We don’t know what we don’t know”. Never in our wildest dreams could we have imagined that someone would give us a lawn tractor. Lend us one for a day or two maybe, but not give us one.

There truly are good people in this world. We are grateful.

What experiences do you have of good things coming to you totally unexpectedly, exactly when you needed them most. Think about them, they will make you feel good, then leave a comment so that they can make other readers feel good too.



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  2 comments for “Adversity, Faith and Gratitude

  1. July 26, 2015 at 12:23 am

    I so agree with your post concerning faith, adversity, and gratitude. And yes, there are wonderful, generous people like your neighbor who gave you the tractor everywhere. I am happy for you and your wife.

    I wrote about gratitude on my own blog a few years ago. Thought you and maybe some of your readers would like to read it too.

    • Peter
      July 28, 2015 at 10:58 am

      Thank you for that link to your beautifully written post Roberta. I encourage all visitors to this post to click on that link and read your post.

      Then they will realsie that they still have a lot to be grateful for.

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