“Five things, every day,” she insisted.
I was in a rough patch — really rough, coarsest-grade-of-sandpaper-rough — and trying to stay afloat by calling my lifelines. This lifeline, a friend with whom I’ve been through good and bad, feast and famine, listened, and counseled. She was ordering me to keep a gratitude journal.
She was emphatic and confident, and I was desperate enough to obey like a child happy for the medicine that might make her feel better. I opened the first of a small four-volume notebook set I’d picked up on sale somewhere, and began. Every night at bedtime.
There were days I had to be very creative to come up with five things I was thankful for. (There were, of course, always things to be thankful for. I was just temporarily blind to them.) And then there were days when the list stretched to seven, or 10, or 12. And then there were a few, rare but bountiful days, when the list went to 20.
That was five years ago. I’m close to filling up volume 7 of the gratitude journal now. And though I seldom enumerate this one, every day I am grateful for that insistent advice that required me to show up, and to pay attention, and to observe a ritual that gave structure to at least one small part of some terrifyingly unstructured days.
So this is where I begin: Grateful, daily, always. For the work that requires me to show up and shapes my days. For the people who show up with me and add their melodies to the rhythms of our work. For long friendships, and new friendships. For sustaining words, whether written, or spoken, or sung. For silence in between. For the glories of the earth and the cycling of the seasons. For every community I call myself a part of. For daily bread, and people to share it with. For the hope that is always before us, if we will only look. And for you, whoever you are. Thank you for visiting.