Once upon a time, I started a list of 1,000 gifts. It was an attempt to record the simple, fleeting moments of life that were, in fact, small blessings and miracles in disguise. I kept a journal for a short time, and recorded some here on the blog. Eventually, like many good ideas, I gave up on it.
This past week has been very trying for me. Despite all the positive aspects of life right now, I’ve tended to focus on the negative. I’ve allowed stress to eat away at me. I’ve let all that we’re lacking right now outshine all that we’ve been given so abundantly. I’ve worried and fussed and gotten darn close to a panic attack…and in the process, lost my sense of gratitude.
Today, I decided to revisit that gratitude list. In the midst of another heart-clenching moment of anxiety, I willed my mind to look around me and try to take note of one thing I was grateful for. Soon, I had a small list going in my head. Can I say my anxiety is relieved? Not really, to be honest. But my perspective has changed. There is a little more balance inside of me, and a lot more thankfulness for these ordinary miracles:
~Phoenix’s new “cheese” face when I take his picture. He is such a little rascal.
~The simple joy of looking at my kitchen when it’s all cleaned up after cooking a meal.
~Our new house, period.
~Being surrounded by nature in every room (here, the view from our living room)
~Zion telling me I’m the most beautiful mommy in the world. That child.
~Pausing while folding laundry to take another picture of this growing girl. Sometimes it just makes me smile to imagine her curled up inside there.
~A girl. A girl. A GIRL. My dream of having a daughter is coming true.
~The feeling of peace I get when I think of the love I have for this baby, for Zion, for Phoenix.
~Paul pulling me away from the stove, where I’m cooking, for a kiss. So 1950s it makes me laugh…but also makes my heart swell with romance.
~Using a glitter polish on my nails just for fun. Zion & Phoenix oohing and aahing in approval.
~The lovely Mary and child gracing our mantlepiece right now, thanks to Paul. A gift from his mother (it was her’s once, and hung in his grandmother’s home as well). A calming presence when I feel my all too human attempts at motherhood failing me.
A small list, for now. Hopefully this will help guide me back into a more centered daily living, if I can keep this practice up.
In the meantime, I’ll leave a few quotations on gratitude as well, to inspire those of you who might read this to consider what your own ordinary miracles might be.
He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has. - Epictetus
We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures. - Thornton Wilder
Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude. - Ralph Waldo Emerson
You pray in your distress and in your need; would that you might pray also in the fullness of your joy and in your days of abundance. -Khalil Gibran, The Prophet.
To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything He has given us - and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him.
Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God. For the grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference. -Thomas Merton