The world has just gotten too heavy lately, hasn't it? The ugliness of politics, the tension of threatening nations, and, of course, the ominous dark cloud of coronavirus that has spread itself around the world. It has become a daily habit to scour the news to find out the latest and wonder what is going to happen next. Around us, community and school events have been canceled, including my own school's Open House scheduled for next week. There is such an air of uncertainty and doom settling down around us, pinning us in place.
Yet, driving home from work tonight, I couldn't help but be dazzled by clear blue skies, smudged every now and again with white. The trees lining the roadways are currently topped with blossoms like giant bowls of popcorn, and that shade of green that only spring can produce has been generously sprinkled all around. This is not a landscape of doom and gloom; it is full of hope and light. So, tonight, instead of dwelling on all the things that are wrong and could still go wrong, I am filling my mind and heart with gratitude.
Gratitude for beautiful spring days like today that remind us that all things are possible and what was cold and dark and lifeless will be made new again.
Gratitude for children who test my patience, fill my heart with worry, and prove on a daily basis that somewhere along the way I must have done something good to deserve to call myself their mother.
Gratitude for a husband that isn't perfect by any means, but has stepped up to the plate every time I've needed him to, who has given me the strength to continue when I thought it simply wasn't possible, who makes me laugh and laughs at my jokes, and who I wouldn't ever want to figure out how to live without.
Gratitude for the little monsters in my class (yes, even them) who make me miserable and question my ability to continue in the only real profession I have ever had, who make me think I don't have what it takes, and who force me to try new ideas and to think about what else I can do to make a difference.
Gratitude for every tear I cry for those I have lost, for it reminds me of everything I have had and just how lucky and blessed I have been.
Gratitude for the pets that pee, poop, and vomit on my clean floors, who wake me in the middle of the night with their barking and meowing, making me feel like the mother of a newborn again, and who curl up on my lap and purr while poking tiny holes in my legs with their claws or wag their little stump of a tail and make me feel loved.
Gratitude for my home that could be a little bit cleaner and a little bit neater, that has rooms that need painting and a yard in need of a whole lot of new landscaping, but that provides me refuge at the end of every day.
Gratitude for sunsets and sunrises, rainbows and snow-capped mountains, ocean tides and clear, rushing rivers, hummingbirds hanging on the air and squirrels scampering along wooden fences, and every other natural wonder that makes me pause and be present in the moment.
Suddenly, the world doesn't feel quite so heavy anymore.
What fills your heart with gratitude?