I wanted to write a book this month filled with the abundance of gratitude I feel for so many good things happening in my life. And I started out with such a grand concept, just as I have in years before. I’d start of my birthday which conveniently falls on the first of November, and I’d keep it up every single day for the entire month – maybe even through the rest of the year. It would be my journal of gratitude, my blog of abundance, and my attempt to show my humble happiness for all the blessings and kindnesses I have received in life recently.
But nearly 500 people wished me a happy birthday on social media, and another dozen friends gathered to celebrate my birthday two days before the actual date – and I felt immediately overwhelmed with both gratitude, and truthfully – mostly just overwhelmed. I didn’t even know I really knew 500 people, so for that many to take the time to wish me well on my birthday felt a bit intimidating – especially since I am horrid about marking anyone else’s birthdays through social media. So two days before my birthday, I was already behind on my thank you notes and was feeling a little overwhelmed by the whole attitude of gratitude.
And then Election Day came, and even though there was comfort in knowing that the candidate of my choice won the popular vote, it was a pretty cold comfort knowing that so many otherwise intelligent human beings voted for a narcissistic and stale Cheese Doodle who bragged about treating more than half of the population with utter disrespect and disregard. I felt let down and afraid, and I finally understood first hand what all those other survivors mean when they talk about triggers. This was far worse than learning that Bill Cosby – America’s Dad, had an affinity for necrophiliac sex. I’m still trying come up with anything about the election that makes me feel grateful, and maybe the only thing so far I can come up with is that there will be another one in four years.
So I looked to home for gratitude, and while I found a reason for it in the arms of the one I love who surprises me with small kindnesses and looks away instead of finding fault with my many flaws, I was reminded of the fragility of life when Grace, our orphaned pig, took ill and let us know she’s in her final days. At first the culmination of all of these events took my breath away and made me feel sorry for myself. How could I be grateful and happy with my abundant blessings when the world might truly be crashing in around me – around all of us, even Grace?
Yesterday, as I sat on an upturned five-gallon feeding Grace yogurt and fresh tomatoes that were originally meant for her humans, I listened to her grunt in what I can only assume was gratitude. Even though she hasn’t the strength to raise herself up to get a drink of water and must rely on us for every basic need, she still found a way to feel lucky. If my pig can feel lucky in her last days of life, who am I to be complaining and feeling ungrateful and unlucky when a few irritations cross my path?
So though I may not have that childlike exuberance with which I promised to start my month of gratitude, and I admit my heart isn’t completely pure in its Allelujah proclamation, I’m going to give myself a tiny break and start all over again. Maybe it’s enough to be grateful for the tiny things in my path today – the super moon, the dog cuddling next to me as I write, the piece of cheese I ate for lunch today, and the hope that Grace will still be grunting and happy to see me when I walk to the back barn tomorrow morning with a dish of yogurt and a cup of that expensive hippie granola breakfast that would have been Dan’s breakfast if it weren’t needed elsewhere. Maybe it’s enough to sing Allelujah and be grateful for just waking up, and if I’m really lucky, whatever sacred other is out there in the driver’s seat of the universe is kind and nods in tacit approval as it slides the lever for another beautiful sunrise here in the paradise of my life.