A lot has been written about gratitude, which, through the studies of such scholars as Robert Emmons, the author of thanks!: How the new science of gratitude can make you happier, has been shown to significantly enhance people’s sense of wellbeing. Earlier this week an article appeared in the New York Times about the positive effects of gratitude.
Have you seen the book 14,000 Things to Be Happy About by Barbara Ann Kipfer? As I paint a picture of everything in my life I’m grateful for, it quickly becomes a very long list. In this blog I offer a much shorter list—from three different viewpoints–purely in celebration of all there is in life to be grateful for.
• The thin veins in a leaf I hold in my hand that has fallen from the Norway Maple in our backyard
• The wonder of skin—from the tender, smooth skin on a baby’s arms to the growing creases on our knuckles over time to the delicate parchment that comes with old age
• The tart taste on the tongue of a spoonful of freshly ground cranberry sauce made from ground up raw cranberries, walnuts, and an orange
• The reflection of our kitchen windows on the computer screen in front of me
• Remembering yet again to pay attention to my breath
The naked eye
• The feel of fresh water as it pours over my soapy hands in the kitchen sink
• The smile on the face of a stranger walking toward me on the sidewalk
• Blue sky filling in the delicate, naked branches of a tree overhead
• The support that the chair I’m sitting in gives to my legs and my back
• The coming and going whish of each car as it passes by the house
• Money to place into other hands in exchange for what we need
View from above
• Family (a wonderful husband, two lovely daughters, a fine son-in-law; the wide circle spreads out from there to those both alive and gone before us)
• Having so far enjoyed and loved more than 61 years of life when my mother had only 44
• Many fond memories of my authentic, big-hearted brother Brian
• Moving from tears of despair when I belatedly realized last week that a very dear friend had fallen gravely ill–to pure joy when I heard a few hours later that she had rounded the corner on her way back to health
• The normalcy of daily life when so many people live in states of financial struggle, unrest, chaos, and war
• That unspeakably grand source of energy on which our lives so completely depend–the sun
• The latest book that has made its way into my hands and knowing that there will be a next one and another one after that in the never-ending flow of human knowledge and creativity
And finally, I am grateful to you, dear reader, for being one of the hundreds of fine people in my life and for reading these words. I welcome you to this table of thanksgiving and invite you to add to this list in the comments section below. What is at least one thing you’re grateful for at this time in your life?