Gratitude slams into me. It arrives when I’m driving KK to school and we’re stopped at the stoplight. The light is perfect, morning blue as the sun rises with the electrical wires crisscrossing across the scene. KK snaps a picture of the moment and shows me the birds on the wire: “Birds.”
She’s joyful and I’m joyful and I think about how now I dive deep into the joy as it arrives. I notice.
It took so long to notice.
I want to explain and I don’t want to explain.
Because who can explain how they arrived at gratitude when we really know everyone arrives there in a different way? That quote about how we all have separate paths. How I can tell a million people that I started writing gratitude lists when my life felt darkly suffocating, but my telling won’t matter. They’ll need their own dark night of the soul, a bottom. That bottom that other people may find ridiculous, the why-can’t-you-be-happy people. The ones that aren’t in the hole with you. Because maybe you are there alone.
And gratitude doesn’t slam into you then. But you need to find the ladder out of the hole. Gratitude seems like a good place to start.
That’s when I wrote one list in the morning and one list in the evening. Was it seven years ago? Six? Who knows? All I know is life is still dark. This year in our country has been downright dismal and it doesn’t seem like this is going to change anytime soon. Hate seems to be trying to grab a stronghold here. Still, gratitude slams into me.
It slams into me as my teen and I sing in the car, as we watch the morning light gather strength. We pass a stretch of trees by the lake that have dropped all of their golden leaves. This morning the sun hits the trees and reaches for our car. “Beautiful!” I say.
I grab the moment as we drive right through it. It’s mine for the taking.