On a cork-board above my green writing table I’ve pinned a bunch of little things I love. Concert tickets, kid drawings, quotes, a tiny colorful flower doodle I made with circles. After awhile the board gets cluttery, and I need to Mari Kondo it and simplify. Through a number of purges, this paper flower torn from a notebook makes the cut and gets hung up again.
It’s a little thing I love.
When it comes to gratitude, we can’t do it wrong, but there is a way I’ve found to do it that adds to the magic. Zoom in. Don’t just write–“I’m thankful for my son.” Write–“Ollie’s freckles as he crunches up his nose telling me how proud he is of his first ever loose tooth.” Instead of–“A Nebraska Sunrise,” I write–“Orange sky fading to blue behind tree silhouettes.”
It’s a slower kind of noticing that we, frankly, don’t have time for. But in that slower gaze, a snowball starts rolling down the hill of my life. I notice the little things more often. And when the big things come, I have a sort of permission-slip to sit and soak in the room. And no, you can’t soak in everything. But what if I would have missed my five and seven-year-old dancing around singing Feliz Navidad as they decorated our glowing Christmas tree? (Yes, I’m that early-decorater person the Internet loves to hate.) It was a holy time in our home–my biggest gratitude from my week–and at the start of it I was reading on my phone. Gratitude practice reminded me to put it down. . . and look around.
To be alive is a terrible and wonderful thing. And sometimes the goodness can overwhelm me.
Parker Palmer says the deepest and greatest truths are held in paradox. So while it may be 100% true that this life is so so hard. What if it’s also 100% true that it is the most rare and holy of things? This week the Internet has been celebrating Fred Rodgers, and yet I often scoot by his most profound lyric when I hear again and again. . . “It’s such a good feeling. To know you’re alive.” It really is. It’s the little things. . . and the big ones too.
Weekend Gratitude Dares
- Enjoy an after school/work/noon treat.
- Clean out a cupboard.
- Soak-up time with family and friends. . . I’ll be back here posting on Monday. Thanks for reading along.