I’ve been reading a lot about gratitude lately. Whether it is from a post from Ann Voskamp’s blog, A Holy Experience or a colleague who sends me an idea for my students to write about what they are thankful for, or reading from scripture that reminds me to “give thanks always”. Gratitude helps us count our blessings, find contentment, and be less self centered. Gratitude helps keep us grounded and other focused. As a new year begins, blessings do abound when we take moments to see them, hold them, and let them do their work. For today, in no particular order, here are mine.
1. Sun. Shining brightly. Warming my house. Making this Michigan winter less torturous and more glorious. Making February not seem like the month I want to rapidly flee to anywhere that may be warmer and show me blue sky. I am loving the rays of light that make me step a bit lighter, crank up the music a bit louder, and drive a little slower. I get glimpses of blue sky and knock em dead sunsets this time of year. A preventer of seasonal depression and vitamin D provider. Sun. Glorious Sun.
2. A lid that didn’t fall off of my travel tumbler. I am on my way to a massage appointment that was gifted to me from a dear friend. I’m running late. Some of you know that is nothing new, but I digress. Car warming. Coat on. Keys in hand. Massage certificate in pocket. Drink? I need water. Grab my cup and grab a lid. I make sure that the lid fits this cup because we have a bunch of lids and cups. I pour water, put on lid, twist the lid, head to the car. Sun shining. Music playing. Wheels are turning. I’m humming to my playlist of favorites. I take a drink. “Good.” I tell myself. Keep drinking. It’s been a while since my last massage, but I’m remembering to drink lots of water. Drank yesterday. Check. Drink lots today. Check. Still drinking. Still traveling, moving the wheels, and I grab that mug again. This time, though, the lid comes right off in my hand. It doesn’t fit at all! It just sits perfectly so right inside the rim of the cup. My earlier attempts to tighten that lid by turning were all a fallacy. It never had tightened. It just went around and around. Spinning. I say a thank you out loud for the blessing of not having cold water all down my coat and into my lap. You know, which usually leads to all kinds of embarrassing questions when water flows to undesired places. I really don’t know how that didn’t happen the first time. I just know I am grateful.
3. A friend who is still here. Fighting cancer. Kicking it back. Growing her faith and teaching me all the time that I need to grow mine. She makes me laugh often and leaves me speechless when I wish I had a really good comeback. The same friend who gifted me the massage. She just celebrated Christmas number 2 since her diagnosis and now Happy New Year! I am so incredibly thankful for her.
4. Alice. Alice gave me the massage that was gifted from my friend who is kicking back cancer and making me laugh often even when I don’t want to. Thank you Alice. You have a gift. I am really glad you use it to help others let go and knead out the crap that we want to store up.
5. A boy. An 11 year old boy who writes beautifully, thoughtfully, and with courage. He writes about loss. He and his mama let me in to take a peek at his words that tell story, bring grins, and watery eyes too. He paints pictures with words and lets feelings ooze out within the confines of sentences and questions. He takes risks. He lets you see vulnerability, compassion, and tenderness. He writes, “He was the sprinkle to my cake. He was a part of me, but now he is gone.” I hope to share more of his writing some day. He will need to let me know if I can. I hope to read a lot more. Thankful. Grateful. Indeed.
6. Pets. Two of them who want to share the sun on the carpet in the living room, but don’t quite trust each other enough yet to be by each other. A dog, named Violet who will be 10 in April and a new cat, named Bennie who came into our house this spring. Bennie had to hide in the garage for weeks because Michael and Kylee didn’t think their dad would want a cat in the house. This house, our home, our household has never had a cat. Ever. Cats were only whispered about and said with disgust and disdain. Almost like something from a horror movie, but Bennie made his way in to the house. He then brought fleas with him, from his stay out in the garage, waiting for Mr. home owner to let him in. Fleas didn’t help the mister of the house think cats were any better than his original thoughts, but Bennie stayed and most of the humans grew fonder of Bennie and made room for him, with love.
Violet, however, doesn’t trust him. I don’t even think she really likes him. She tried her usual, I will take you down by attacking you strategy. She is a terrier. She doesn’t pause well. She met her match. Bennie let her know that she wasn’t his first rodeo and blood was drawn. Cat claws met dog face. Hurt. Mad. She has tried over and over again during the last few months. He keeps letting her know that he is here to stay. Violet must make room for him too. In all fairness, He’s not always nice either. He lets her have it with a quick and silent swipe when she meant no ill will or evil intent. She is just walking by. She is trying to tolerate. She goes way out of her way now to leave him alone, but sometimes blood gets drawn again. He slouches away. She cries and runs for a human. Any human.
Today, though, I took some pictures of that glorious sun streaming through the house and the two of them doing their thing and then finding peace. Granted it is peace at a distance, but I grinned thinking maybe we could all learn to just tolerate each other a bit more. Maybe we, too,could find room in heart, home, and through the Son………..healing, forgiveness. and a boatload of kindness.
Happy New Year! Feel free to leave a comment or two of what you are grateful for…..I love to read.