ow, now we begin the crowning 60 days.
The last 60 days of the year. Good things can still be birthed.
My grandpa, sitting there at the end of the table with his crown of tussled grey and his knee-thin Levis, he used to say: “Any dreamer can start strong —- but only the strong finish the dreams.”
Whatever the dream for this wild year — joy was what we wanted to wake to.
There is still time, there is still paper and pen, there is still a way to find more of the joy in the last 60 days of this hard year.
I knew a woman once
for the perfect day,
then the ultimate raise,
then the long applause,
then the mountain retreat,
then the magic number,
then the noticed thanks,
then the wanted affirmation
that never came —
and for far too long she had no idea that joy could be found in day just like today with the cotton bedsheets pulled up and made smooth in a messy room,
or even the cold water straight from the earth below her, now there at the edge of the cup tipped at her lips,
or even this regular moment with her heart drumming like a wild anthem within her,
because on any old day, even this one, is never too late,
all she had to do was write down these smallest slivers of grace in her everyday because:
Gratefulness isn’t hard.
Forgetting to be grateful is what makes life hard.
‘Keep your eyes open to the gifts all around you — that you get to open if you just pay attention.’
That woman who waited far too long?
She was me.
But the last decade of my life has had these moments in the day spent in giving thanks, writing down the day’s gifts, and I can testify for living it:
You can spend your one life in a waiting room, waiting to be finally called in to another life, to see more joy, more fulfillment, more of the abundant life you dreamed of —- but you miss out on fully living the joy of your life, when you keep waiting for another life to make you joyful.
If you aren’t noticeably grateful with what you have right now, why think you’d be noticeably more joyful when you have more?
The last ten years have tutored me in joy:
The world around us is training us to think we need more to be more joyful, when the truth is, if we’d just daily train ourselves to be more thankful, we get to be infinitely more joyful.
The more we need — is more thankfulness.
When I stand at the kitchen sink yesterday and launch into this rant about all that’s going wrong in this crazy year, and spew on and on, a son who curled up on knee when I first began the practice of gratitude, and who now towers over me a man of 6 ft 3, he says quietly,
My eyebrow shoots up awkward and I smile thinly.
“Annnd?” he smiles a mile wide. “I recommended it to one of my buddies — and he’s reading it now too.”
I look down, wincing just a bit. He pats my shoulder.
“So, Mom — wanna tell me three things you’re thankful for right now?”
I look up, look him in the eye, and smile back.
The ordinary moments of today are miraculous answers to long-ago prayers.
And I take a deep breath in front of the once-little-boy now-made-man who’s being the friend I now need, and I murmur that I am thankful for it right now: the way the morning light’s dancing up the wall, the way this son’s standing like a man before me so tall, the way the calendar page turns here now, the way I can turn even now.
And I begin again, because we always get to begin again.
A life that is meaningful — starts with a heart that is grateful.
All the great lives start with a habit of gratefulness.
And I begin the last 60 days of this crazy year counting gifts, writing down gifts to literally re-write the neural pathways in the brain, choosing gratitude because I choose to finish strong.
Thankfulness in small things —- can give you joy in everything.
I turn to thank my son in the kitchen because I hadn’t known it ever just quite like that:
Intentional gratefulness is great rant intervention.
Vent — about all that’s good to let your soul breathe.
Because even the slow-learners like this woman know:
Crown the year with thanks, and you wake to joy reigning over your wide-open eyes.
There’s glory lighting now in all the trees down the lane, right to the very end.
Are you ready to wake up to real living?
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