I wrote on Monday that I was going to keep up my “experiment” of writing a gratitude list every morning, but that I was scaling down the list to three each day rather than trying to match the number of the day. I am finding myself stretched. It’s easy to list the same things over and again—my family, music, the “new” old piano, church family, rain, birdsong outside my window. . . . But at the same time, I am finding other gifts. As I drive to work, I sometimes find myself noticing the clouds—large puffy clouds edged with silver, or low-hanging rain clouds, and sometimes the dark black clouds holding the summer thunder storms. Last night, as I went to sleep, there was the sound of those large, heavy raindrops falling on the roof and the low rumble of thunder. We are in need of rain right now as the winter rains have “dried up,” so to speak.
In our community, there are the high school graduates beginning their lives. Some will be going on to college or to the military while others will be going straight into the work force. There are the eighth graders who are leaving behind middle school to go to high school in August, my niece included. (When did she become old enough to go to high school? She is so grown-up looking, and quite beautiful, if I must say so myself.) And those fifth graders are moving up to middle school. Look out, world! There’s a whole new generation coming! And as I watch the young people in my community and family grow up and mature, I am more than hopeful.
Today, there is a sad kind of thanksgiving in my community, too. My across-the-road neighbor passed away yesterday after some struggles with his health. I am, of course, thankful, that he has been with us for as long as he was. He was one of those men who would give his shirt if he knew he was helping someone else. I know how thankful I was for him and his daughter several years ago when we lost our home to fire. He was the first fireman on the scene and took control of the fire scene. We still lost the house, but he worked hard to save the things he did. And while we mourn Mr. Heyward, we celebrate his new life in heaven, where he is whole and healed (and if there are hunting grounds for deer and beautiful scenes to photograph and grass to cut, I’m sure he can be found scoping out the situation and getting ready to work).
Since beginning this experiment of daily gratitude, beginning the day on a positive note, I find that my entire day is better. Oh, I still have the same issues and frustration, especially with students who come to class thinking that because they are not being paid a salary that they are entitled to pass or that they do not have to work and earn their successes. Then I have the one or two students who appreciate everything little thing that every instructor in the building gives them. Ms. Jackie, Ms. Nancy, Natalie, and others remind me that I am reaching someone, and my work is worthwhile.
So, even thought it is cloudy and gray, I know there is sun behind those clouds. I will be thankful for those clouds and for the rain they may bring. I may not like getting my feet wet or having to tote the umbrella, but I will rejoice and be glad in this day.