Monday, June 13, 2011

Gratitude and Good Things

Years ago, a friend gave me a blank book to use as a gratitude book, an idea she got from Oprah. I tried it for a while, sitting down each night and listing three things I was grateful for. Some days it felt quite forced. Maybe it was that word grateful. It feels so big.

When Henry was in the hospital, I'm sure I prayed more than I ever have before. Throughout the day, I'd send out hope as a prayer. At night, as I lay on the narrow, plastic coated bed that crinkled and made me sweat, I'd prayer. And each night, I began not with please, but with thank you. I don't know why or how I started doing so. Maybe it was a really good day—or a really bad one. In any case, that was how I started each night with gratitude for at least one good thing. There were days it was easy to find one thing—or more. Other days I had to struggle. Some days it was simply that he was still with us or that we hadn't had setbacks. Open eyes. A breath on his own. A smile. Getting to hold him. Climbing into bed with him. A visit. A note from somebody unexpected. Having our favorite nurse. Coffee and cookie hour. Little things.

I'm aware of the big stuff. I'm grateful for a family that I both love and like. I'm grateful for my children and my health. I'm grateful for a comfortable home in a safe place with wonderful neighbors. The little stuff, the day-to-day stuff, is the stuff it's easy to overlook, and I try not to. Sometimes the gratitude for the little or the mundane has simply been hanging on to a splinter of hope; other times it is a deep, deep awareness of the world around me. And sometimes it's just acknowledging simple pleasures.

Last Monday, Barbara inspired me to list 5 good things. She's back at it this week, and I loved seeing her list again. It feels like such a positive way to start the week.

Here's my list this week (if you read the comments on her post, you'll see my five things have changed already, not because those five weren't good, but because I've had more.
  1. Homemade pizza for dinner
  2. Working in the garden with Kathleen: getting potatoes planted—one step closer to the garden being done; watching her sturdy little legs going as she went back and forth back and forth the the compost pile with my weeds in her wheelbarrow
  3. Anticipating chocolate cake at least once (maybe two, maybe three times) this week for my birthday
  4. Birthday greetings beginning to roll in
  5. The quiet when everyone else is asleep (although sometimes it keeps me up when I should be asleep too)

1 comment:

  1. I understand this. I try to enjoy a good moment when I catch it, appreciate an exceptionally good cup of coffee or the fact that I have only hit one red light out of maybe 10. This is a good exercise . . . happy birthday, and enjoy your cake!