Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Moments of Grace

“It is the tenderness that breaks our hearts. The loveliness that leaves us stranded on the shore, watching the boats sail away. It is the sweetness that makes us want to reach out and touch the soft skin of another person. And it is the grace that comes to us, undeserving though we may be.”
― Robert Goolrick

I was up this morning before dawn, bustling around in my cozy kitchen, feeding the animals, making coffee and stirring up a batch of fresh chocolate chips cookies so that a little bit of mama love can go into the boys' lunches today.  As I watched the butter and sugar cream together in the Bright Red Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer, I found myself grinning.  I was just standing there, smiling like a fool, into the beginnings of my batter.   And then I began to pray a small, completely insufficient prayer of thanks while enumerating all the reasons I have to be joyful. And then I thought to myself, "Why not write all these down?  That way, in the inevitable moments of darkness, you can reach back to this list and remember why life is so beautiful."


Reasons to be Joyful
  • Two sleeping boys upstairs are healthy, mostly happy, and, most important to me, safe.  They sleep peacefully every night without ever fearing.  They have lived their lives in love without shouting and violence. 
  • The flowers on my kitchen table that represent the man who loves me in spite of the fact that I am often unlovable.  I am thankful that he can see past my grumpy mood swings, my inability to logically consider almost any question, my insistence on being unreasonably happy about holiday cups at Starbucks and my utter lack of concern over the filthiness of my home or car.   I am grateful that he always remembers and acts on the little things that make me happy.
  • My furry creatures give me far more joy than many people find reasonable. 
  • I am a different woman than I was 10 years ago, 5 years ago, even 6 months ago.  I am so thankful for the ability to change my mind, my thoughts, my life.
  • I can stir chocolate chops into my cookie dough with a beautiful, smooth wooden spoon.  
  • My limbs are all still working.  My knees are creaky and my body aches more than it probably should on a winter morning, but I am healthy.  
  • I have electric lights to illuminate my pre-dawn hours.
  • My heat is working and more than sufficient to keep us warm and safe from the coming winter.
  • I have work that I enjoy and that pays me enough to do the things I need to do for my family and to have a little bit of fun every now and again.
  • I live in an area where it's a little cold in the winter, a little hot in the summer and a whole lot of fabulous in the spring and fall.  
  • I live in a country where I can benefit from education, where I have the freedom to speak my mind,  and where I can rest assured that, even though it will never be perfect, there will always be people striving to change lives for the better.
  • I love, and am loved by, far more people than one person deserves to have.  I am grateful for the many people who weave in and out of my life, creating a bright tapestry of friendship and love to keep me believing that people, at their core, are usually kind, generous and loving.
  • There will always be more reasons to be joyful.
The list went on and on, all the way down to things like really great water pressure, drawers that slide smoothly in and out, and the fruit on the beautiful handmade pottery platter (a little plug for Stephen Dean) on my kitchen table where the cat is currently nestled (I promise I will clean the table before we eat).

I know that your list of joyful things may be different...but I also know you have one.  I hope you can take a few moments today and appreciate those little things that make it all worth it.

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