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Have you ever noticed how a simple circumstance can lead one with a pondering mind to board a thought train that seems to lead to a multitude of destinations? With each stop at a side thought, a larger or more inclusive thought leads to the next.  

Like with many of you, the holidays can be a time of joyful chaos at my house. I'm blessed with the annual visit from my family into my simple abode that usually is home only to me and two felines. It now houses my mom, my kids and my granpup, BB McPup. BB McPup is an exuberant rescued puppy who assumes the cats are playmates and the cats, thoroughly disgusted, have taken up daytime residence under the bed.  

My youngest son, who has hinted in the past that I need a 'keeper', is immediately on guard for anything that may serve to make mom's life easier. With the task of preparing the traditional meal looming, he decided that I sadly lacked the necessary tools to expedite the job. He and my daughter-in-law returned a while later with a very sharp chopping knife and a big cutting board. All my knives are notoriously dull since my life has become one of solitude and little cooking. I'm afraid of sharp knives since acquiring an uncanny aptitude for finding any accident waiting to happen.

After being assured that a sharp knife was actually safer than my 'sawing' implements, my daughter-in-law demonstrated what not to do by severing her thumb near to the bone, tendon included. After six hours in the emergency room and a visit from an orthopedic surgeon, they returned home with her right hand encased in a cast-like affair rendering her totally left-handed and somewhat helpless.

Over the course of the next few days, we noticed her ability to call upon her left hand growing more pronounced. In addition, the four exposed digits on her right hand were working hard to compensate for her immobile thumb and palm. This, of course, got her to thinking about the 'connectedness' of all things in our bodies and minds. She mentioned that thought to me and the pondering train immediately pulled into my mind station. That one incident, and her summation of the results, has had me traveling all over the realm of mental resolution and enlightenment on just how this big Universal picture does kind of work.

I lack the room to detail the 'geography' of each ensuing stop on my thought train journey, but I managed to connect it all to the approaching New Year upon which we are all about to embark. None of us can know every circumstance each coming day will hold to alter our lives and how we think about things. Yet, my daughter-in-law's disabled thumb brought a realization of how all things do work together. When one fiber in this web of life's existence is disabled or out of service, the other fibers take up the slack and work together to balance the loss or the need. The mind develops new pathways of neural stimulus to produce new methods of accomplishing a task.

On the other hand, if one fiber resists its responsibility to contribute to the whole, or is unable to do so, the other fibers have to work much harder to remain a functioning unit. Many times when dilemmas seem overwhelming we tend to think, what can I do to change or improve such massive problems? I'm only one of billions. What good does it do to conserve one gallon of water, pick up one piece of litter, or rescue one homeless animal? What can I do to help our floundering nation and world regain its stability? The Planet, its health? Then, I looked at my daughter-in-law mastering eating with her left hand and holding a hand of gin rummy with the four exposed digits on her right.  

If nothing else, we can change the way we think. We can resort our priorities. We can vow to at least listen to an opposing opinion or idea. We can check on the elderly in a nursing home who have no family. We can donate a bag of food to the local animal shelter. We can make an effort to support our new president and contribute anything we are able to assist him as he faces almost overpowering challenges. We can take responsibility for what we are able regardless how small the effort might seem. Somewhere, another fiber in the life web will thank us.

I wish you all a most joyous, peaceful, and challenging New Year. May we all look forward to it with enthusiasm as to what promise it may hold and the courage to grow wiser, stronger, and survive what may be dealt to us. I wish everyone the incredible joy always found in a good laugh.      

Susan Haley, Author

**Susan Haley is the published author of two books, several articles on networking, an award-winning poet, and the copy editor and book reviewer for Pepper Tree Press Publishing, book reviewer for AME Marketing out of San Diego and poetry editor for The Infinite Writer.. She also contributes a column to "The Florida Writer" the official magazine of the Florida Writers Association, of which she is Facilitator for the Sarasota County Chapter. The audio version of her novel "Rainy Day People" was recently awarded runner-up Finalist in the 2008 Indie Excellence National Book Awards. She is a contributor to a variety of editorials and excerpts of her work can be found in various E-zines, newsletters, and local papers.


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