Thanks to those who may never have been thanked
To the person who smiled at my mother when I wasn’t around
To the child sharing the favorite part of his lunch with a shy girl
To neighbors who pick up trash in the road
To my son who reminded me that we could never replace his sister
To puppies waiting at the door for you to come home
To people who anonymously scatter kindness wherever they go
To the millions of folks who may never have been thanked
Dad, I was not the best son.
To my child's brain, it seemed that all you ever wanted to do was work. After you came home? You did yard work. Weekends? All we had was yard work, toiling under hot sun as we sweated and burned our skin, or during the winter, bundled in thick jackets while we raked up leaves and trimmed bushes. I began to hate the sound of the rake, making that peculiar "skrrrrrrit!" noise as it scraped against concrete, and the crunch of dry leaves that seemed to avoid being pulled into the dustpan, only to break apart into smaller pieces.
I hated the smell of cut grass, and the acrid scent of trimmed juniper bushes, because all they reminded me of was the fact that I would be outside again next weekend, doing the same thing, over and over. Sundays often meant washing your car, or polishing shoes in preparation for school on Monday. I got used to my fingers getting pruney, temporary premature wrinkles of an age I did not feel yet, and the smell of shoe polish as it permeated the back porch where I had to work.
I hated *you,* because you were always the one who made me do this. I was rebellious, angry, and full of selfish hate. Why me? Why did I have to do this stuff, when your other son seemed to have it easy. Why was it always the job of the eldest to do yard work, small maintenance, and other things that your younger son could do so easily, and yet, was not there with me?
. . .
Then, one day, you weren't there anymore. Cancer descended swiftly.
It was only a few days later, after you were in the ground, that I realized you did not make me work just for the sake of working. Instead, you had imparted wisdom: When was the best time to pick oranges off the tree and how a ripe orange was supposed to look, feel, and smell; when it was important to clean a car, and how important it was to make sure it was a thorough job so the paint job and interior lasted longer, how to clean shoes to make them appear like new and keep them from breaking down, and the benefits of keeping a well-manicured lawn, and trimmed bushes, without needing to hire a gardener.
So, Dad, thank you for these things. Thank you for showing me what you knew. Thank you for giving me the wisdom that I could only appreciate later in life, as an adult. Thank you for the lessons that I needed to learn, even though I did not understand them at the time.
...and I hope you can forgive me for being the person I once was.
In gratitude I find the answer to the ailments of my heart, mind and soul. I am thankful for the way gratitude can lift me from a self-imposed prison and plant seeds of freedom in my heart. I am thankful for the way that remembering to be grateful helps me find love and humor in moments of fear and stress. I am thankful for the way expressing gratitude can shift another person's entire demeanor. Drawing a smile out of a frowning, serious or stressed out face with a thank you or acknowledgment of shared humanity is so powerful, is it not? I am thankful for those moments when it was my frowning, serious or stressed out face from which a smile was teased through that simple act being on the receiving end of a thank you.
I am so thankful for the kindness of strangers. The world (tv news - at least in America) sometimes can make you think there is danger lurking in every corner and there's nothing to be trusted out in the general public. But my experience tells me good, kind people are everywhere. And it inspires me to be kind and good in return, and look out for the well being of others. I am grateful I can see past and through the pain and sadness which perpetuates the tragic happenings and be open to and embrace the world in which I live.
I am so grateful for the written word and my natural ability to use it to connect in ways with which I otherwise struggle. Without exaggeration, writing has saved my life. I don't know how I would have dislodged the achings of my heart were it not for my ability to write on them and clear the path for healing. I don't know how I would have discovered that I am not alone if not for reading the written words of others. I don't know how I would have discovered who I am if not for writing and reading. I am so grateful for everything I have read which has pulled me to a new level of understanding of myself or the world around me. I am so grateful for everyone who writes. I am so grateful for everyone who reads.
There are, indeed, an infinite number of things about which to be grateful. Air. Electricity. Humans. Animals. Planets. Stars. Education. Logic. The list is truly unending. The crazy part, is that it is so easy to misplace gratitude. Even with all of the things which go noticed and unnoticed which make my life better, sometimes I forget and feel so lost and hopeless and helpless.
So I just thought I would make a challenge to help me remember to pay attention, because even when things seem insurmountably hard, gratitude can be a light in the dark. Even when I am struggling to find things about which to be grateful in my life (or especially?) I find I can reach out to one person or even one object and say thank you. And it starts to lift me or at least keep me from sinking more.
I am thankful to the barking dog, warning of danger.
I am thankful to the smiling stranger, adding that little bit of brightness to the world.
I am thankful to the darkness, for helping me feel safe all those years.
I am thankful to the light, for helping me see.
I am thankful to the laughter of children, for reminding me I was once young. And that I should definitely laugh more.
I am thankful to music. You know what you have done for me.
I am thankful, of course, to my family and my friends. To all my loved ones, and to all who seek love.
I am thankful to the rain, sun, seasons, nature in general.
I am thankful to plate techtonics.
Clearly, I could go on and on. Thankfully, I don't have the time for that. Thank you, for taking the time to read this, for liking to read in general, and for reading what I write in particular. I am grateful my heart has this outlet, writing, and my writing has this forum, The Prose.
Gratitude Journal For The Week of 6/6/2022
A Church I follow has an app (Crossroads Anywhere) where we journal together as a community, and one of the things we journal about are things we are thankful for. I wrote these for this week's prompts from the app....
"What are you looking forward to this week?"
- Reflecting on fond memories made at anime conventions this past weekend with family, while also enjoying a more "normal" week.
- Celebrating my daughter's birthday this weekend.
- Reading books that I bought from the authors directly at this past weekend's conventions, and watching the shows and playing the games that the voice actors we met at the conventions are a part of.
- Making progress on writing projects that I've been putting off, including a chapter for a collaborative project on Prose (theprose.com).
"What are you grateful for today?"
- Having time last night to read from the Bible, Crossroads journals, my devotional book for teachers, and one of the new books I got from an anime convention this past weekend.
- Reading with my son last night before bed.
- The sleep I am about to enjoy (it is currently 12:06 AM).
"What made you smile or laugh this week?"
- Watching Skate the Infinity with my family.
- Students remembering random jokes I make in class.
- Running through a sprinkler during Water Day with my students.
Affirmation: "I trust God."
"Is there anything you would like to thank God for this week?"
Thank You God for helping me through another work week, for the possible breakthroughs with some of my students that have been struggling, for tonight's acting opportunity I get to take in with my son, and the celebration of my daughter's birthday this weekend :-)
"Think of a recent book...."
I am thankful for all of the awesome new books I have bought from authors at comic/anime conventions. Besides supporting an artist/author, I am enjoying some great storytelling and writing from these books, and I am thankful for the opportunity to meet the authors at the conventions as well :-)
I thank life for my parents, for my mother, who is the most positive person ever , for my father ,who cares so much about me. I thank for my other family members ,for my brothers , sisters, aunts and uncles. I thank life for being unpredictable, for ups and downs, I thank life for bringing bad moments because each one of them teach me some lessons and shape my personality, I thank for happy moments that give me so much joy and courage to live. I thank for my friend ,who is the honest of all people ,I thank life for my first love who is my soulmate ,my best friend the person I would die for . I thank life for every second I live and for every experience I've experienced.