Lately as I’ve pondered my rather uncertain fate I keep coming across the idea of gratitude and being encouraged to write lists, ranging from 10 to 100 of things for which I am grateful. At one point, this felt like a perfunctory exercise. One is encouraged to write down from the large, important things like gratitude for loved ones or material things to even the smallest things, like “I am grateful for a nice cold glass of water” or “I am grateful for my dog” or the sunshine or or or….I was frustrated by this advice, in part because I couldn’t really see the purpose in filling page after page of things that I am grateful for. I nevertheless dutifully wrote my list of ten things.
Then for some reason today it hit me: I really am grateful for so many things, including those mundane things I am privileged to think of as mundane–like clean water to drink and something that makes my clean water cold. I am facing some challenges in my life right now but those challenges are far outweighed by the number of things I am grateful for. So, I am challenging myself to write every day about at least one thing I am grateful for. Not a list of things, but one thing (or more) that I’m grateful for and why. I’m not sure how long I can sustain it, or if I’ll write a public blog every day or simply write it in my journal. But, I am challenging myself nonetheless. All those people who recommend doing this can’t be wrong. There’s simply nothing to lose by doing this.
Today, I a grateful for my friend Roland, with whom I had lunch today. He is a caring, concerned person who wanted to check in with me and inquire about how I’ve been doing with my current life drama. He listened to me while I talked about various challenges I am facing, offering words of encouragement and support. And he also talked to me about various challenges he is facing while I offered him encouragement and support. The hour and a half or so that we spent together uplifted my spirit in ways that sustained me through the rest of the day. Given the challenges I’ve had sustaining high spirits during some of my life issues I am really grateful to say how good I still feel even as the day is ending.
My “problems” are no fewer than they were this morning before I went and had lunch with Roland, but I am reminded that when I approach them from a spirit of thanksgiving warmed and inspired by the love and support of friends and family, they don’t seem so insurmountable.