I've been cranky lately. Not constantly and not at everyone or everything. But a few things and a few people. I describe it best as "not suffering fools gladly." Not gladly at all. What has made me particularly grouchy is that there have been several occasions when I have been very excited about something I have done, only to be blamed for it, rather than smiled at. I'm also tired. September blew by incredibly quickly, but it was only yesterday that I finally got my house in order after nearly three months of minor but time-consuming and furniture-moving and waiting-for-paint-to-dry renovations. (In case you are curious: we took out most of the walls in the basement and scraped and properly painted the basement walls and floors, then moved our laundry upstairs to the main floor by ripping out an office wall, hiring someone to do plumbing and electrical work and constructing a wall, then redoing the office, including ripping out carpet and paneling, redoing the above and painting, then swapping that room with one son's bedroom. Let's just say that A Lot of Stuff was moved about endlessly in the process.) There is something tiring about living in chaos, possibly more so as I get older.
Yesterday morning early, I sat in bed with a grievance about a few family members and aching muscles, preparing to nurse my grudge. I opened the Bible and the book of Common Prayer I use to direct my readings. It sent me to Psalm 116. Where I read "I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving."
Crap, I thought. Yeah. Thanksgiving. Like next week. Like the sign I read on a church billboard the other day that said thanksgiving is the mother of all virtues.
And sacrifice too. The easy way out really is self-pity, nurturing slights and justifying myself. It's not where I live all the time, thank goodness, but neither is thanksgiving.
Thankfulness is a radical postural change of heart. It genuinely is the difference between the perception that a glass is half-empty, and solid appreciation for the few cool, wet gulps that really are there.
My problem is an embarrassment of riches: where do I start?
How about from where I sit right this moment. I am typing on a working computer. A purple one. I have a cup of hot green tea beside me. I have a view of trees outside my window. I have time to write and think. I am fed and clothed. My husband's desk is beside mine. I am grateful perhaps most of all for him, for the fact that we have been able to bend, stretch and change over the years and still stay together. There's a picture of the St. Lawrence river above the desk - a place I love and get to visit thanks to my sister. I have a funny greedy letter to Santa on my desk, written by one of my kids. My kids are healthy and funny and kind to one another. I can't take any of those things for granted. My parents are living and so is my grandma. There are stories around me, some even written by me - this is a gift too. There is money for groceries in my wallet at my feet. I have lovely friends and neighbours. I had good paid and volunteer and creative work to do today and I did it.There's a pool pump running outside and a furnace running within.
It always feels weird when you take on a new exercise, whether physical or mental. This is no exception. Part of me says, "yeah, I know" even to this long good list. But part of me wants to open my eyes to the beauty of all that is around me.
And that is thanksgiving.