Anne Lamott has a new book Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers. Every time I see the title, I am brought back to a tiny windowless room with a bed and a nightstand and a phone, where I slept for several weeks while Henry was in the CICU. Each night, I'd pray my helps and my pleases, my hopes and my pleas, but first, I gave thanks. I didn't give thanks first to bolster my pleas or as an afterthought tacked on the front. I gave thanks because I was grateful, grateful for another day, for a step closer to coming off the ventilator, for eyes peeking open. I was grateful for friends who visited or sent notes, for meals people sent in through my parents. I was thankful when Brian was able to visit.
It always seems odd to me that I really learned what I know about gratitude at one of the worst times of my life, but there I was thankful. Asking for help, asking for a miracle, for strength and patience, but first thankful.
As much as I wanted, that gratitude stood on its own. It wasn't thanks but . . . it was just thanks.
I'm not there now, though I'd like to get back. I'm working on letting go of anger and frustration and feeling put out over little, inconsequential things. I'm trying to give thanks with no buts attached.
I'm thankful right now for the warm fire in front of me, the comfy bed waiting upstairs for me, the two healthy sleeping children already cozy in their beds, the husband who will come home and slide into that bed with me sometime, hopefully soon. I'm thankful he has a job. I'm thankful he has a job with health insurance. I'm thankful for a family that I both love and like who I will see tomorrow.
For a moment at least, I'm just thankful.