Gratitude

I’ve once again fallen down on the job keeping up these blog posts. I had promised to post twice a week, and then life (or, more honestly, distracted self-pitying laziness) struck and I failed. What can I do other than admit my failing and dive back in? Well, one thing I can do is make no more silly promises. Instead I will do my best to post often, and try to be inspired every time I write. Today I am inspired.

Back story

The boy and I have been in a collective funk the last few weeks. It’s been a gorgeous summer. We’re both healthy, in love, have three awesome pets, great supportive families and friends, and, most unusually in these tough times, we are both gainfully employed. But still… we’ve been terribly mopey. The general state of funk in the country is not helping, that’s for sure. We are both dismayed at the widespread hopelessness and uncertainty, and disappointed, perplexed, and, yes, even enraged at the callous and weak response from our leaders. (Okay, that’s my feeling, but when the boy is willing to talk politics with me, which is rare, he seems to agree with all of the above sentiments.) We’re also feeling totally overwhelmed by the work to be done on our fixer-upper house, and yet tired of living in a half-assembled mess. Sigh. Welcome to the pity party.

Today

In fact, less than an hour ago, shortly after the boy left for work, and while I was procrastinating starting my day, I was gurgling in a puddle of self pity. Feeling distracted, bored, and cranky, I wasn’t even looking forward to a little escape we have planned for the weekend — a one-night backpacking adventure with the dogs in the Colorado mountains.

But then, something pulled me out, shook me off, and slapped me in the face with a wonderful saltwater rush of gratitude.

I followed a link to this blog by a woman, Jennie. On the surface, it’s a deliciously engaging food blog, which as an okay cook and avid eater I’m always drawn to. But her recent posts have little to do with food. Jennie very suddenly lost her dear husband, Mikey, just three weeks ago. In a few brief posts, it’s clear that Mikey was the love of Jennie’s life, and while I don’t know her, I can glimpse the depth of her loss. It made me cry. And it made me so terribly grateful.

Not the grateful of the mind — when you tell yourself in that judgmental inner monologue holier-than-thou tone, “You have so much, why are you feeling sorry for yourself?” No, the kind of grateful that fills your heart with bittersweet joy. That’s the kind of grateful I’m feeling right now. I wanted to share that with you.

Of course, it’s very possible that my words aren’t giving you a taste of that feeling, but perhaps this clip from my favorite movie will. Enjoy it. Then breathe. Look out the window. And show someone just how much you love them today. Or just do a little purging in the comments below and tell me what’s been on the menu at your pity party lately? Or, even better, what’s getting you hopeful again?

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6 thoughts on “Gratitude

  1. I posted this comment a day or so ago:

    “One has to watch out whenever one comes upon poetry or songs and music,
    because they can reach out and catch you up in your love and loss and memory and set you back to grieving.”
    In the past few years, the signal event that heralds old age is the loss of friends and loved ones has come into my life. I thought I was somewhat prepared to face this. But there is no preparation. Each death not only blasts a hole in one’s life, but brings the mind around to sift through all the losses.
    Through the pain and sadness, though, there is the remembrance of the richness of shared love, and fun and buckets full of memories. And a gratitude that these loved ones were the treasures of your life.

    • Thanks Aunt Bev. I’m really blown away by how gracefully you are tackling that one, hugest, challenge of aging. Or, as Winston Churchill used to say, “Keep buggering on!”

  2. we have a routine w/ spencer where each night we talk about our most favorite part of the day and what we are most grateful for. hopefully, he will keep this in mind when he’s older too.

    i, too, have been wallowing in my first-world, privileged problems/issues lately and I am working hard to remind myself to step back and be thankful.

    • I love that, Anne. Way to teach Spence good coping skills. We all wallow, it seems the trickiest thing is to know when and how to pull yourself out of it. Of course, sometimes you have to just force yourself to keep going, no matter how cranky or fed up you feel.

  3. Death can be a wonderful way to remind us what’s important in life. Soon after he died, I took another look at Steve Jobs’ Stanford commencement speech. He made the speech soon after getting over a battle with pancreatic cancer, and it contains not a few helpful hints for living life. I’ve found it invaluable as I ask myself, “Do I love what I do?”

    • Thanks for commenting, Sam! Yes, a lot of folks have taken that grain of gold from Jobs’ death. And death is obviously part of life. It’s good to be reminded now and then of how fleeting it is.

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