Wednesday, August 17, 2011


     Sometimes I forget to be grateful for my most basic freedoms. When my twins were newborn, the apartment where we lived was three floors up. To go to the grocery store, I had to carry two car seats, a diaper bag, my purse, and any other additional outing requirements to the car, load everybody in with seat belts, and then keep them both reasonably entertained and distracted on the ride there. When I arrived, often I would sit for a few minutes in the parking lot contemplating what lay ahead of me: two carts, one for food, one for babies, what I might need to keep their hands busy, Nick's blankie, pacifiers, the list... And as I sat there, cars would whip into and out of parking spots all around me. Single individuals would come and go with ease and speed, utterly unencumbered. I remember sitting there watching them and thinking that they had no idea how easy they had it. I would take a deep breath, open my car door, and begin the unloading of the car.
     And a year ago, I had abdominal surgery, and discovered how challenging it could be to stand upright, and to walk without pain and stiffness and pulling. I had to move with enormous care and consciousness. I found myself noticing elderly people, and some who were disabled, moving at the same speed at which I was moving, slowly, and with care. I realized that most of my life, I moved too fast to even have an awareness of all of this slow moving activity. As a rule, I breezed past it, and around it.
     So it's important for me to remember, and to be grateful, that I can move as easily as I do these days, that I can swiftly get into and out of stores, that my children are healthy and grown up into young adults, that I can breathe without pain, that I have a car that runs and is reliable, a wonderful house in which to live, and satisfying relationships. And that's a mere beginning. Once I start my list, the gratitudes pour forth.
     I have heard people say, and really believe, that they have nothing to be grateful for, which is nonsense. Let's begin with the basics. We have functioning bodies that move us around. We have intelligence and creativity. We have hope and possibility and a world full of natural beauty. We have clothes and food and cars and houses. We have life and heart and dreams . We have the ability to love and be loved. We are each of us blessed beyond measure, if we can only see it, every moment of every day.

I am grateful today. I am grateful for the basics, and for all of the extras. I am deeply blessed, and full of thanksgiving.