By Carmelene Melanie Siani
The alarm goes off and my husband is up, out of bed, into the living room to do his sit ups and push ups then out the door for his two mile walk and back home again to unload the dishwasher.
Just after he puts the coffee on he comes into the bedroom, kisses me and asks me what I want for breakfast. We’re going on six-plus years now and this is how it has been. I think about the days when I had to get up and get the kids dressed, fix their lunches, put a load of laundry in, start dinner and then drive to work where I would work eight hours only to stop and run an errand on my way home—you know (or remember) the drill—and now I’m in this kind of fairly land, dream-world life.
I look out the window as my husband heads back out to the kitchen. A dove flies into the glass with a thud. Startled, she lands on her feet, shakes her head a few times and takes off, sailing over the fence as if nothing had happened.
I am grateful on behalf of the little bird for having survived her hard knock and as I lay there in my soft, warm bed, I think of all the living beings in the world who have hard knocks every single morning of their lives. People who don’t have sweethearts to kiss them awake let alone to ask them what they want for breakfast. Refugees. Prisoners. Slum-dwellers. Orphans. Maybe even the guy down the street.
I am awash with gratitude for the plenty and abundance in my life, for the more-than-enough-to-go-around and for the simple peace of mind and the time in which to enjoy it.
After breakfast I will take a hot shower under clean water that washes over me from a spray nozzle; I will use shampoo designed especially for gray hair. When I dry off I will put lotion on my skin and clean clothes on my body.
How did this happen? Why me, I think. And then, realize the lesson is not to ask “Why me?”
The lesson instead is to practice opening my heart wide enough to allow the gratitude in without diminishing it with guilt, comparisons, self-doubt or questions like “Why me?” Guilt and self-doubt push gratitude away. They are ways of saying “No thank you.”
“Just be grateful,” I tell myself.
“That is your calling now, at this time of your life. That is what brings balance to a world in which there is so much suffering. Balance the suffering with gratitude. That is your practice.”
It is a simple and yet so difficult thing to be grateful. It requires stretching and allowing and receiving and acceptance and it requires that you be…happy.
“Thank you,” I remind myself again. “Just say, thank you.”
Editor: Dana Gornall
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