Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The Day of Gratitude

So it's one of the last days of summer holidays. I slept in this morning. I convinced myself I deserved it, because the last 36 hours ten years or so have been plagued by insomnia.

I berated myself for sleeping in, and indulged in guilty feelings and other useless negative emotions. But then I decided to adjust my attitude and make good use of the hours that were left to me. 

I made the sign of the cross before I got out of bed. That was my quick morning prayer. I spoke the name of my God, who is a Holy Trinity, and I traced the lines of the Christian symbol of suffering on my body. Because life is (mostly) suffering.
No, I'm not being negative again; I'm being truthful. Even though I've not been blogging these last few months, I have indeed been busy doing other things. Future blog posts (and, God-willing, books and retreat/conference talks) will elucidate further just what I have been up to in the last three or four years. 

One of those things has been listening to a LOT of lectures, podcasts and interviews of Dr. Jordan B. Peterson.) I will not go into detail here, but the short version is that he is helping me get my life together. One of the first videos I watched (also available in podcast) is The Necessity of Virtue . It’s an hour well-spent (listen on your commute, your treadmill, while you fold laundry or mow the lawn). His wisdom, common sense, and practical advice are gifts to a society sorely lacking all three. 

One of Dr. Peterson's recurring themes is that we are not grateful enough for all we have, but rather choose to be resentful for what we don’t have. (Hint: we in North America have more than 99% of the other people on the planet, so start your day with that little fact. Don’t start with the pathetic view that there is a tiny percentage of people in society who have more than you do. Boo hoo. There will always be someone around who has more than you do. It makes sense for our mental and spiritual health to focus on GRATITUDE for what we have, rather than resentment or envy for what we don’t.)

So I decided that today would be a Day of Gratitude, and I would write a blog post about it. I decided to be conscious of everything I encountered today for which to be grateful. Here goes (in no particular order):

  •  For a husband who supports me morally, spiritually, and financially. I could not sleep in (or write or homeschool, or anything else) if my husband didn’t support me. He doesn't make a lot of money, but he has sacrificed a very great deal in the last 31 years.
  • For a comfortable bed.
  • For running water and indoor plumbing, and sewage systems that work—most of the time.
  • For soap. You don’t appreciate soap until you are stranded somewhere with dirty hands, or a poopy toddler, or both, and you don’t have any soap. Or until you meet someone who never washes, and you don’t know whether to pity or be disgusted by them (sometimes it’s a choice on their part). 
  • For a nice bathroom sink. It’s not a new sink, by North American home-renovation standards (it’s probably close to 10 years old!), but it is newer, and nicer, and easier to clean than the damaged, fake marble 1975 sink that was here when we moved in. And it’s a sink. Some people don’t have a bathroom sink.
  • For a laptop of my own, and the ability to write, so that I could start writing a blog post about gratitude.
  • For reading glasses. Oh, how I complain about having to wear reading glasses--how ungrateful is that?! Imagine what life would have been like hundreds of years ago, for an older person who loved to read, but found herself slowing losing vision clarity. Had I lived centuries ago, I would now be unable to read and stuff. But I am alive today (thank you, God, for that too). And  I have reading glasses.
  • For bodily integrity. As I moved about my bedroom this morning getting dressed, I felt a twinge of pain in my upper back. And my lower back. And my hip. I’m over 50; I have a lot of twinges of pain. I could complain about that, but I won’t. I have all my limbs, and they work pretty well. I don’t have any major diseases (at present). I can get from here to there without much difficulty. I even indulge in exercise from time to time (I've lost 22 pounds this spring and summer! More details on that forthcoming.)
  •  For working internet. I really am consciously grateful for that, since in our rural area, it frequently does NOT work. Today, it’s working.
  • For my friends—you know who you are.
  • For hot coffee. Ahhhhhhhhhh…. Coffee. And for a husband who makes it for me, whether I get up early to drink it with him or not, and who leaves it in a thermal carafe for me. Every single day.
  • For Kleenex. Can you imagine washing used, crusty, crushed up hankies all the time? Neither can I, even though I’ve seen it done. (Mom, you were a saint.)
  • For my mom, especially now that she’s gone. For the things she taught me, and the things she neglected to. I’m grateful for both, because one way or another, they brought me to where I am, and I think I’m in a good place. I miss her.
  • For the reality of heaven, because I know I'll see my departed loved ones again (and I'll get to meet Flannery O'Connor, G.K. Chesterton, and everyone else I've ever admired.)
  •  For the grace of God, which sustains me at every moment of every day.
  • For art, poetry and music. Can you imagine life without them? Dear Lord. 
  • For a renovated kitchen, which makes my daily chores so much more pleasant. (Yes, DOH readers, I will post pictures…eventually.)
  • For food. It's funny sad how we post-modern, North American, (and usually overweight) people are either worshipping or cursing our food, instead of just being thankful for it, and eating it in moderation. A lot of people don't have access to good food. 
  • For my garden. I hated vegetable gardening as a youngster, but thankfully, I have grown up. It is a gift and a privilege to be able to grow your own food. 
  • For nice clothing. At least I think my clothes are nice; you are free to disagree. I have a lot of clothing--too much. Pray for me. 
  • For the (recently renewed) motivation to embrace ORDER. I’m a hoarder—but at least I am willing to admit it, and I’m trying to do something about it on a daily basis. Though I’ve read every de-cluttering and Tidy Your Life book in existence, it was Dr. Jordan Peterson who was responsible for my current attempt at fixing my life. Order allows you to live your life, and live it well. Chaos depresses and paralyzes you, and hinders your progress at every turn (even if you are just searching for tweezers on your cluttered dresser).
  • For the artist/singer/musician Audrey Assad. If you haven’t heard of her, look her up and listen to her music. Start with “Good to Me”Her album Fortunate Fall is exquisite (full of lovely praise music—I have met God and lingered with Him numerous times while listening to these soothing tracks. Her song “Lead, Kindly Light”, based on Cardinal Newman’s poem, is sublimely and achingly beautiful. I would take piano lessons just to learn to play this song).
  • For my beautiful daughter Katherine, who introduced me to Audrey Assad’s music.
  • For all my beautiful daughters: Christine, Celeste, Geneva, Katherine, Frances, Susannah and Sophia. I really don’t deserve any of them, but God is very good, and we’ll just have to leave it there.
Oh my. My “Gratitude” post has already reached over 1000 words. And it’s only 10:30 in the morning. I may have to do this in instalments, since the current wisdom (if such exists) suggests that people’s attention spans are simply not what they were a century ago. (Thanks, “smart”phones.) It's time to get some other work done around here. I haven't cleaned off my teacher's desk since June (not kidding).

PS. I am grateful for DOH's 26 wonderful followers! If you are not already signed up, would you consider becoming #27? I would be very grateful if you did. Thanks. I can be contacted at ladywriter.ulrich@gmail.com

No comments:

Post a Comment