There are moments when I'm left breathless with gratitude, but the moment passes and I forget too easily that it happened. I need to write it down. I tell myself that often and yet I never seem to get around to opening that notebook of mine, even with fresh paper and new pens and more than enough time in my day for this one small-yet-big thing.
What better time than Lent to return to this practice of recording gratitude?
- 40 Days of Gratitude
Some days, I confess, it all feels so pointless.
I rarely allow myself to think it. I know all the right responses. I know what I'd say to someone else. But some days I struggle to remember those same things myself.
I feel like I spend all day, every day, going from one mess to another. Get breakfast, clean breakfast, make lunch, clean lunch, prep supper, cook supper, clean supper, sweet the floors, do the laundry, run the dishwasher, tidy the living areas, tend to bumps and bruises and scrapes, intervene in the fights, change diapers, make the beds, wash the kids, on and on and on and on and do it all again tomorrow.
And all of it with a splitting headache, today at least.
Still, I press on. I wash the pots while the shepherd's pie cooks, hoping that my work now will give me a few extra moments of peace after dinner. We sit down to eat and the toddler drops her bowl onto the floor and I feel a flash of rage, as though she did this to me. On purpose. The bratty little tyrant, how dare she? Doesn't she know I don't have it in me to clean up one more thing tonight? I close my eyes on the mess and on my own ridiculous anger.
These are the days I need to remember gratitude more than ever. I'm home with these children, and it's just as I want it to be. We read and learn and create together, and it's just as I want it to be. Pushing back the dust and dirt and chaos time and time again reminds me daily of my own internal struggle with darkness, of the daily need for confession and repentance and worship, and it's just as I want it to be.
It's also exhausting.
It's okay to acknowledge that, I know. And it's important to recognize that point on the verge of overwhelm so that I can step back, look at our daily lives, make changes where needed, tend to my own needs so that I can continue to tend to the needs of others. That's when I feel the knot in the back of my neck start to loosen and things slowly begin to feel joyful again.
Throughout it all, though, I watch for the moments of gratitude.
335. Naps, mine and theirs. Quiet times.
338. Weeding and turning over the dark heavy garden soil. Earthworms. Dirt under my fingernails and an aching back testifying to hard work outside.
340. The boy's help and enthusiasm with weeding.
341. Fresh rosemary and basil.
344. Making things more beautiful.
349. Oven s'mores.
354. The hope and promise of burying seeds within the dark earth.
And you? A moment of gratitude, something from your list, a link to your own gratitude journey? I love reading every bit that you share with us.