Janet Hommel Mangas: A gratitude journal gone wrong

I have absolutely everything to be grateful for — family, church, work, food, housing, air conditioning and heat, 33 years of marriage, a shovel to turn over the dirt …

(Note: I can assure you the last two are totally unrelated!)

But for some idiosyncratic reason this week, the ungrateful kept creeping in as I tried to focus and list out my beholden “I am thankful for:”

Maybe I was hungry, needed more exercise, more consistent Bible study — but I found myself venting. The dog just shook his head, laid by my feet and looked away.

It started out like this:

“I am thankful the Interstate 69 project is almost halfway done …”

Then my mind wandered to, “I wonder what happened to the ‘Ruel W. Steele’ road signs that designated that the original four-lane divided State Road 37 that started construction in 1971 being named after Steele?”

As one does when writing in a “thankful journal,” I went rogue, digressed and somehow found myself reading part 1 of Steele’s “Indiana State Highway Report 1971-1972,” written at the end of his three-year term as chairman of the Indiana State Highway Commission. As a wordsmith, I was thankful that he started his report with an intriguing and catchy, “I do not believe in swan songs, but this is probably the last time I will appear here because this year I am winding up my term as chairman of the Indiana State Highway Commission.”

As one does while being distracted while writing in one’s thankful journal, I counted 32 different men and women served as our currently-named INDOT chairman since 1919. And I truly am thankful for the roads I use daily.

Thank you to the background clanging and pounding of the dump trucks emptying their loads day and night all summer, and survey lights working through midnight to finish their jobs.

Earlier this week, I shared my nearly two-year ongoing frustration with the hubby that INDOT, after multiple emails, texts and phone calls still had not finished their job. They had to grade, remove the leftover dead trees and trunks filling gaping holes and replace the culvert rock after removing 22 roadside trees in front of our property — jobs that the crew promised would be done last fall. The hubby suggested God was merely working on my patience.

As one does while being convicted while also being frustrated while writing in one’s thankful journal — here I am writing, quite Jonah-like, and reluctantly that I am also thankful for our INDOT engineers.

Janet Hommel Mangas grew up on the east side of Greenwood. The Center Grove area resident and her husband are the parents of three daughters. Send comments to [email protected]