WTW: Gratitude

Today's Woman to Woman is a list of eleven things I feel particularly thankful for. I have lots of day-to-day things that I could list - of course, my family and life and health and home and friends. Not to mention 600-thread-count sheets, Nature's Valley Sweet and Salty Almond Granola Bars, and how happy "light-up shoes" make my boys.

But as I thought more about things that I am profoundly thankful for, I realized that there are fundamental aspects of my life that I don't necessarily take for granted, but maybe I don't articulate my gratitude for them often enough.

This actually prompted a more spiritual train of thought than I usually blog, but I felt that I could share it anyway. So here are a few of those kind of things:

1. Agency. How remarkable to know that I am not a victim of chance or fate, but that I have a say in the decisions - large and small - that I make every day. That I can act on what I believe, I can do what I feel is right, or that I can let go or hold on to anything I want. That I can choose to be a force for good or peace, that the things I do aren't predetermined by anyone or anything. That I am the captain of my soul. What a powerful and really amazing thing!

2. Faith. I feel like I have a gift in my life to just be sure of certain things, so I never have total uncertainty or fear, and I can find answers to a lot of really troubling things based on the things I feel sure of in my heart. This is not to say that I don't question or wonder or doubt or analyze or rethink my attitudes or philosophies at different times in my life, but it means that deep down, I know there is a God, that he is my father and He has a plan for this world and a plan specifically for me. I'm thankful for that anchor in my life.

3. Literacy. There's no way I could express what books have done in my life. They have added to my faith, broadened my horizons, deepened my understanding of the world, helped me escape from reality long enough to be able to come back and face it better, exposed me to cultures and ideas that I may never have otherwise experienced, instructed and informed me, and generally reached my heart with beautiful ways of saying things or showing images that I could never have articulated myself. Reading is such a simple thing, but it is a window to the world, and a door to myself.

4. Artistry. I love how rich my life is because of the talents of poets and dancers and painters and scultpors and musicians. There is in art and performance to me something very near to perfection - those moments when you can just be still and understand beauty and truth without words.

5. Grandeur. I grew up in the Rocky Mountains and have always been inspired by their rugged beauty, their vastness, their treacherous roads and trails and their peace and quiet. And in the last few years I have been able to spend holidays by the ocean and appreciate it like never before. I love to contemplate the heights and depths and numbers - the grains of sand, the neverending waves, the bulk of the rocks, the thousands of years of building and erosion and underground tulmults that created what we see. I love the feeling of being so small compared to it all, and yet knowing that it's there for me to enjoy.

6. Tender Loving Care. Gentle caresses, kind words, small acts that make my day-to-day life easier and more comfortable. My grandparents so consistently offered this to me my whole life. And now my husband is really good at it. I also feel grateful for the opportunity to offer it to my children. I am often amazed at how much my love for them grows even through the sometimes mundane tasks of caring for them and meeting their needs. I am thankful for human companionship and tenderness, and for the times I've been called on to tend to someone with kindness and compassion. I am convinced that kind of service has enriched my life much more than the service or love I gave enriched the person I was serving.

7. Childhood. There is nothing like the bliss and carefree days of being a child. I am thankful I experienced a childhood and doubly grateful for the chance I have to watch my children find joy and abandon as they play and learn and grow. It goes by so quickly and I hope they can always retain some of the innocence and hope and pure joy that makes up their young lives.

8. Heroes and Role Models. There are some people who have most definitely made me who I am and I am thankful that life and families exist in such a way that we have people to follow, people who will lead us and teach us and love us and inspire us.

9. Renewal. Every sunrise and sunset - it happens just the same as it did the day before, but it never looks the same. The ocean waves on the sand - whatever you etch or dig or build in the sand, it washes away and leaves a clean smooth surface. I am grateful for all the things in life that offer refreshment and a new beginning - sleep, music, a good read. I am grateful for the things that indicate that there is always a fresh start to take, every moment is new, and that I have endless opportunities to leave behind the old and begin again.

10.The Good and the Bad. I'm grateful for the whole gamut of emotion that I can experience in life. I am slowly starting to understand and really appreciate the idea that our deepest joys are that much more joyous because they are juxtaposed with our deepest sorrows. To be able to know and learn from pain and grief allows me to experience greater happiness and to value it more: happiness would be indistinguishable if there wasn't something to contrast it with. I'm not exactly grateful for the hard or terrible things in life, but I am thankful for the heavenly and most happy moments in life that help me make it through the hellish and most despairing ones. I'm glad that I've been given both.

11. The Present. I'm learning to enjoy the moment I'm in and have recently become really aware, especially with my boys, how important it is to just drink it in and love where I am - these years won't last forever and thinking too much about the past or worrying over the future squanders what I have with them now. I'm thankful to be their mom, to be a wife, to just be present. It is a gift that I'm working on enjoying more fully.

For more Woman to Woman participants and the things they are thankful for, click on over to Seeds From My Garden and/or My Many Colored Days. (And thanks, Morning Glory and Lei, for hosting this great forum!)


BAK said...

This is such a great list! Your writing is really beautiful. This topic seems to bring out the very best in people, and makes for such uplifting reading. Thanks for sharing!

someone else said...

Traci, this is an awesome, thoughtful list. I'm so glad you shared these with us.

Yvonne said...

Thank you so much for a beautiful post--I was so touched especially be 10 and 11.

Lei said...

You shared, so eloquently I might add, a beautfiul list! Thank you for giving us a peek into your soul. :)

Tigersue said...

What a wonderful list, and so well written. You touched upon so many things that we take for granted in our day to day life. I love wonderful art, and Grandeur, like you I grew up near the Rocky Mountains. When my parents last went to Canada I asked them to bring me home a picture of Mount Rundel in Banff. I have it hanging on my wall.

Unknown said...

I like you getting a little deeper and more introspective here on the blog! The way you phrased number 2 was especially poignant to me. A friend once told me, "You always knew how to be happy," and I think it speaks volumes. I think that you know how to be happy as well, amidst the good and the bad.