Wednesday, December 10, 2014

100 Days of Gratitude

About 4 months ago I realized that my life wasn’t exactly going to go the way I expected.  

One day I was driving down the road I was mapped on with a smile on my face, and the next day, my car started to slide.  I jerked the wheel to try to stay on the road, but I used a heavy hand.  It threw me into a whirl, I spun very quickly out of control, and just like when a car slides on ice, the more I thought I could correct it, the worse the spinning became.

And the more I spun, the harder it was to understand that it would ever stop.

It felt like there would be no end.

In October a friend saw me struggling.  She is a good friend.  She said, “No matter how you feel tomorrow morning, I want you to do something when you wake up.  I want you to think about what you are grateful for and write it down.”

She said in 100 days that I would feel better.  She said, “If you do this every day, in 100 days you will remember what you have forgotten.”

I thought she was crazy.  I hadn't forgotten anything.  My life had just spun out of control.  I thought that it was my fault.  I was operating under the illusion that if I kept jerking the wheel, I could get it back on the road.

I listened to her though, because I was so desperate that I would have done almost anything to feel better, even if I had to wait until January.

Some days it was really hard.  I wrote things like, “I am grateful that the sun came up” because I couldn’t think of anything.  Or, “I am grateful for coffee”, because that seemed like the only thing that would get me through the day.

As the days went on, it became easier to write them down.  “I am grateful for my children...” and “I am grateful for my amazing job” and “Harry Potter” and "my run" and "my mom" and “my running wife” and "my wonder twin" and “the puppy who woke me up at 3 am, because when he did that I saw an eclipse”....  

And do you know what I realized the other day?

It did not take "100 days of gratitude" to make me remember why my life is so good.  I realized that I could be grateful for something every day for the rest of my life and still probably not honor all the amazing people and good and lucky and blessed events in my life.

I know I have it good.  I know we are lucky.  I am aware that my parents love us.  I know my friends love and support me and the kids.  Those same friends will be there at 5 am to run, at 10pm for a glass of wine, or for an afternoon hug on the hard days.

I am grateful that I live a blessed life.  I am grateful for the roof over our heads, no matter how humble its shape.  I am grateful that I have a generous heart, and that I freely give what I have to give without regrets.  I am grateful that I was born with a smile that comes easily, and that when I can, I use it to bring joy.  I am grateful my family raised me to be courageous, to try new things, to be brave, and to live a life without fear.  I am grateful.

Because of my gratitude, my cup is not “half full”:  It is overflowing.

I am grateful.

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