Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Really Simple Things

I've been feeling guilty lately over all the time that's passed since I got around to writing something. It's not that things haven't been happening, but probably more that they've been happening a little too much leaving very little time to quantify and assess what's happening in my wonderful world. The busyness has kept me from pausing to really be grateful for this incredible journey and it's time to break the cycle. Thanksgiving will be coming soon in Canada and then a little later in the US. I miss that time over here in Australia. So instead of doing a facebook 3/5 days of things to be grateful for, I'm just going to start and see how far I get. There's an awful lot.

I am grateful for modern technology. It means I can communicate with my loved ones on a daily basis and see exactly how their lives are going. It means I can pay bills and do banking without having to find time to get into the branch during their operating hours. It means I can read as many books as I want at the same time and carry them all with me without renting a trailer. It means I can take pictures and share the memories with people I care about right away. It means I can text my husband as soon as a thought pops into my head without worrying if he's busy. It allows me to live in two worlds quite happily even though my body can only reside in one.

I am grateful for my body. It lets me see beautiful things, breathe incredible air, touch other human beings, taste food that makes me want to sing, dance when I feel like it, sing when I want to, sleep and feel instantly younger when I wake, and experience a myriad of sensations and memories. It is a miracle. I can walk. I can run (slower than I used to). I can feel. I am alive.

I am grateful for words. They can encapsulate the breadth of experience in my existence. They have so much power and they're largely free for the taking. They can take me to places I've never been and allow me to see things in a way I had never imagined. They are precious and strong. How we use our words is one of the clearest indicators of who we really are as individuals and a society. I am always conscious of the blessing and responsibility they represent.

I am grateful for a near perfect husband that accepts a less than perfect spouse with a selflessness that motivates me to do much better. He seems to instinctively do the right thing in nearly every instance. That's hard to keep up with, but I know without the motivation to hold to his pace I would have been so much less. He is one the biggest mercies God has seen fit to bless me with.

I am grateful for water. Not only is it vital to existence, but it manages to be beautiful and lyrical at the same time. It sounds, tastes, smells and feels good. Water can gently caress, swirl and dance as well as being strong enough to cut steel. It adapts with complete fluidity to every occasion. Nothing can put a smile on my face faster than watching waves rolling into shore on a beach or seeing a torrent cascading down a cliff face. It reminds me that real power is so much more than what humans wield so carelessly.

I am grateful for sunlight. I love it's warmth, the way it captures motes of dust in its fingers as it twists through the air. I love the way it transforms every colour it touches to a better version of what it seemed before. I love the way it reminds us to move a little slower, pause a little longer, and let life soak deep into our bones. I crave sunlight sometimes in the depths of winter and that's why when it returns it's such an occasion for joy.

I am grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is an imperfect world, full of imperfect beings trying to overcome all that imperfection as best they can. The gospel, however, includes a way for all of us to transcend that imperfection in Christ. Yes there are rules. No, not everyone likes them or understands them. But that's okay. Because Christ and his gospel are infinitely perfect in patience too. We start where we are and we place ourselves in his hands and ask him to help us see our way forward. And in his perfect love he does. We live in a time where we are clouding the lines between obedience to His law and the acceptance of everything and everyone. That's very difficult to reconcile, but if we really listen to our Saviour he can teach us how love and accept without needing to condone or embrace. That is remarkable.

I am grateful for music. I appreciate how it can capture exactly what I'm feeling with far more eloquence than I possess. It has the ability to change a bad mood for the better in a just a few measures. It can motivate us to do hard things. It can allow us to touch the divine. It can build bridges between cultures and soften broken or even angry hearts. It can revive memories we had lost and give us release for emotions we cannot contain. It is one of the things that glorifies our intelligence and gives it voice. It makes us smarter. It is magic.

I am grateful for little things. Tiny reminders of where I've been. Little mementos of my life to date. I cannot carry them all with me, and often they get lost or discarded,  but we all have them. Those small objects that we rediscover and then sit back for the flood of memories and sensations they carry into our hearts with them. They are often unremarkable to anyone but us. A ticket stub for a concert. A particular marble. A rock or shell from a beach. A scribbled birthday card from a toddler. They are like acquaintances that we run into once in a while and thoroughly enjoy catching up with. For example, I have a pair of opera glasses on a silver gilt chain. They come from a trip to the Sydney Opera House to watch Carmen. They were kind of an extravagant purchase at the time, but every time they come out of the box I can see that performance, feel the seat, touch the music and remember exactly how I felt that night. And that makes me smile because I understand what a privilege that memory is. I love my memory tokens, because that's what they are. An instant trip into cherished moment of the past.

I love my family. They are unique and diverse. They understand my mindset in varying degrees, but they all love freely. Each one is a miracle in my life with something incredible to contribute. When I look back on things in my life I want to count as my successes, my family is one of them. Because they are nice people. That's a precious thing. They are funny, they are smart, they are beautiful, and they are part of me. Each person has influenced who I am and the way I see the world. They have taught me so much and asked so little in return.

I am incredibly grateful for the people the Lord has sent into my life. I have met and known so many incredible people who have shared so much of who they are with no demands. They have made me want to stand taller, speak more kindly, share more freely and love with abandon. They have brought colour and music into my existence at every turn. They are teachers, confidants, exemplars. They are bosses, coworkers, playmates, students. They are the best and brightest stars in my past, present and future skies. I owe them everything.

I suspect that's enough for now. My list could probably have chapters if I kept going. That's the wonderful thing about gratitude. The more you think about it the more you realize there is to be grateful for. Thank you, life.

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