Just over a month into my summer, I realize I’ve grown disconnected from my practice of gratitude. Straying from my routines ultimately means straying from more than just that. On the thirty-sixth anniversary of my birth, I find myself listening to favorite songs in the air of a cool summer night, enjoying the company of a thousand crickets.
As my eyes close, this iron table disappears, and the outdoor chair beneath me transforms to the familiar wicker rocking chair of my classroom. Seated before me is a ring of eager, young faces. “Gratitude Friday!” they remind me. Submitting to their excited pleas, we commence the turn-taking. I beam with joy as my students celebrate our weekly tradition, squirming on their feet as they wait for their turn, giggling with each of their friends’ personal thanksgivings.
At last it is my turn. Taking a moment to listen to my heart, I find so many things for which I am grateful.
Tonight? My backyard. Music. Crickets.
But there’s so much more.
I woke up today. And, God willing, I will rise again tomorrow.
Quiet moments alone in cool weather.
The rain that grows my grass and makes my flowers giggle and smile.
Old friends who remember who you were, way back when, and help you remember yourself, too.
Love, of all kinds.
Looking into the faces of my babies and seeing myself.
Hopes and dreams for the future, without which our lives would have no direction.
Bridges and breezes and beautiful, wide-open spans of water.
Stories, real and imagined.
Cardinals, climbing in my tomato plants and reminding me that miracles are real.
Afternoon drives with no destination.
Smiling with strangers.
Laughing with people you love.
The smallness of my life within the hugeness of this universe.
This moment. Right now.
Aujourd’hui, je suis reconnaissant.