Things have been pretty heavy around here lately. I know there are terrible things going on in the world all the time, but in the last few weeks I just haven’t been able to shut them out like I normally can. I don’t know if I’m affected differently because I’m older or because I have a child now or because I’m simply paying more attention. But lately I’ve felt overwhelmed by gloom and helpless to make things better.
It’s an especially devastating feeling to have in the time before the holidays. In a time usually reserved for benevolence and celebration, I have seen vitriol and fear. I find myself wondering how I can possibly have such a different perspective on the world as the people who raised me and who grew up alongside me.
But I am grateful. Grateful that I have family who I will be able to sit down with this evening and share a meal. Grateful that we will have more than enough to eat and a warm place in which to eat it. Grateful that even when we disagree, we still love each other.
I am grateful that my son is healthy and happy and smart and generous and loving. I am grateful for his gappy smile and his little baby kisses that will be gone before I know it. I am grateful to the man I saw shopping with his mother, who gave me hope for a good future relationship with my son.
I am grateful for my husband, who cooks and cleans way more than I do, but doesn’t act like that’s a role reversal. I’m grateful that he reminds me to let things go when I am high strung and seething. I am grateful for his support in my creative endeavors.
I am grateful for my body because it is strong and healthy and carries me from the counter to the stove to bake so many cookies and lifts my son to my chest for a hug between batches. I am grateful for its forgiveness for all that I put it through. And I am grateful that my body is my own.
I am grateful for my city, where creative, intelligent people do amazing things every day. Grateful for the members of my community who take action to make our city and state a better place for everyone who lives here and may come to live here.
There is a lot that I am not thankful for, but focusing on those things only distracts me from moving forward and from being a compassionate human being. Instead, I choose hope, good will, and gratitude.