Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Reverb 10 Day Fourteen - Gratitude

I'm participating in Reverb 10, a fantastic month-long initiative for reflection. Here I will be responding to one prompt every day.

December 14 - Gratitude
What’s the one thing you have come to appreciate most in the past year? How do you express gratitude for it?
{The original title for this prompt was 'Appreciate,' but I decided to change it to 'Gratitude.' To me, appreciate is superficial, and gratitude is miles deep. You can use appreciate in your prompt if you'd like.}

Gratitude is an important part of my life, and I think I do a pretty good decent job of being grateful. Grateful for friends; for family; for clean laundry; for the fact that I came home from work yesterday and Tom had cleaned the kitchen, poured me a glass of wine and had dinner almost ready. I am grateful for my life, even when it seems that it isn't going my way.

When Tom and I thought of the four things that we would most want to pass on to our children {yes he tolerates my love of lists very well}, gratitude was at the top of my list. If my children are grateful, I feel that I will have succeeded.

That being said, I know I'm not always 100% grateful, and like everyone else I'm sure I have a long ways to go. When I first read this prompt the first thing I thought of was 'sleep.' Never before this year was I so grateful for real, deep, dreamless sleep. I cherish it, long for it, and try to cancel things that interfere with it. Eight hours of sleep is my always-goal.

After I sat with the prompt for a while longer, however (I am a day late in posting this, so I've been thinking about it quite a bit), I realized that for 2010 I really need to be grateful for process.
This year hasn't gone how I thought it would in a lot of ways. Minute-to-minute I sometimes find myself stumbling over my words and actions and self. Many times over this past year I have been struck by the feeling that I am wandering in circles... in the dark. My favorite quote used to be that one by Robert Frost about taking the road less travelled and how it makes all the difference. Now I find myself thinking 'No, I'm pretty sure I want to be on that other path. The one over there with all the people on it.'
I also know that when you get off a path like that, when you emerge from the woods all dusty and scratched and blinded by the suddenly-there sunshine, you are able to look behind you and say 'I came from there, and now I am here, and I am grateful.' More grateful than if you had taken the well-travelled path in the first place.
Though I want to be on that well-travelled path with all the people on it, I'm grateful to be on this one. This one that is teaching me about process, and waiting, and opening up a new piece of myself to a new piece of the world.
I am here - part of a process that is bigger than my hopes and dreams and worries and joys - and am grateful.

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