But I can tell you where I was six years ago today. Surprisingly, I can also tell you where I was when John F. Kennedy was shot. But then why wouldn't I remember it? September 11, 2001, like December 7, 1941, is a day "which will live in infamy." My ostrich-style way of dealing with stress was not even an option that day. I stared at the TV too numb by the horror of what was happening to turn it off. In the freakishly unbelievable reruns, planes flew into buildings over and over again. Ironically on a day when evil was personified, ordinary people who lived every day lives died doing heroic, superhuman deeds.
Years have passed. A debateable war rages on. Americans stand in airport security lines and probably don't even think about anything other than their own personal discomfort. I suspect most of us have forgotten our pledge to be more friendly and smile at strangers. A world at peace seems little more than an ancient dream.
I'm not throwing stones. I'm as guilty as the next person. I have been feeling sorry for myself lately. I've been wallowing in self pity. It's not a particulalry pretty sight. And for sure I'm not real proud of myself.
So this morning as the news blasted yet another story about Osama Bin Laden, I decided I needed to take stock of things, put my life in some kind of perspective and [re]start being grateful.
My list started with a glorious summer shower. From out of nowhere, with a bright blue sky overhead, the clouds opened up with a gentle rain. I stood at the back door watching, smelling. Don't you just love the smell of rain? Without giving much thought to the clothes I had just donned, I stepped outside and stood in the shower. Not too hot, not too cold. No thunder. No lightening. It was just right! And I felt it right down to my soles, and especially in my soul ... gratitude.
My post today is going to be 11 reasons for/quotes about gratitude. I hope it will inspire you to pause for a minute or two and make your own list.
1. Summer showers.
2. "At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us." Albert Schweitzer
3. Cats that can't quite say a real "meow" but say "I love you" by rubbing your leg.
4. Family. Fathers, daughters, sons, sisters, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins, et al. Put them all together and they might spell "dysfunction" but the family is also "a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another's desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together." Erma Bombeck
5. A man with beautiful blue eyes who loves me. Having the good luck and good sense to love him back.
6. A house over my head, food in my stomach, clothes on my back and shoes on my feet. Not to mention hot water, CocaCola, cell phones, and peanut butter. "The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving." H.U. Westermayer
7. Ginger flowers that remind me of mama. Flowers in general. "Cut flowers can increase compassion and kindness – and decrease anxiety and worry, a Harvard study showed. People who lived with fresh-cut flowers for a week reported feeling less worried and less depressed while at home than people who lived with a decorative candle." Rosy Outlook – AARP, March/April 2007 pg 18
8. Friends. "Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom." Marcel Proust
9. Being a non-smoker.
10. Table linens. For example the 1910 Victorian napkins that look like they have never been used. [How is that possible?]
11. "Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn't learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn't learn a little, at least we didn't get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn't die; so, let us all be thankful." BuddahI'm on a roll! ...
12. School supplies and schools to use them in. When you get the chance be sure to read Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Fight Terrorism and Build Nations ... One School at a Time by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin. Then find a way to help.
13. "Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it." William Arthur Ward
14. Books. Let's face it, books are a true blessing. Picture books, alphabet books, mysteries, non-fiction stories about animals, cookbooks, coloring books. MMMMMM, I love books!
15. Tea. Iced tea on a hot day. Hot tea on a cold day. Tea in the kitchen with a good friend. Tea at Paneras. Tea in France. Paradise Island Tea. Earl Grey Tea. Jasmine Tea ....ooohlala, I love tea.
16. "If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, "thank you," that would suffice." Meister Eckhert
17. Songs. All kinds of songs. Especially John Denver songs. "I believe that we are here for each other, not against each other. Everything comes from an understanding that you are a gift in my life - whoever you are, whatever our differences.” John Denver
18. Babies. Girl babies and boy babies. Monkey babies, tiger babies, whale babies, elephant babies. Don't you just want to hug a baby? Even stinky ones!
19. I tried to sign up for a breast cancer research study called The Sister Study.* I was rejected. I fit all the criteria except one. Even though I have four sisters none of us has had breast cancer. This is a good thing. Lucky for us, we come from a relatively cancer-free gene pool, but I don't want to tempt the fates. Our ancestors have had its share of maladies. I'm grateful there are other sisters who will participate in this program to help find a cause and a cure. *www.sisterstufy.org
20. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Jesus Christ
21. Mostly I'm grateful for life. For love. For me and for you.
"I don't think it's enough to just say 'God Bless America.' We must say 'God Bless the World.'"
May Peace be with us all,
P.S. If you don't feel up to making a whole list of your own, feel free to add to this one via the comment section. :)
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