Power Ball, death, and gratitude


A neighbor of mine died suddenly (another one).  He was 45.  He truly was a bright light — giving, cultured, dedicated to non-profit work — with two young children.  It is such a reminder to let each day be lived with some measure of gratitude.  My brother is an ER doctor and has daily, often gruesome, reminders that he has plenty to be thankful for.  My sister lives on SSDI and counts days when she has food and shelter as good ones.

I, however, live among the affluent and get caught in the ‘comparison game’.

Would I be happier in Waltham or Watertown, where blue collar families predominate?  Alternatively, why can’t I live right here and not get hung up on the differences?  The whole Power Ball drama brought this up this week.  It was fun to make a list — new couch, new towels, two new cars, repaired stoop, painted living room ceiling (by a CONTRACTOR), relief from worry about college tuition, insulated basement studio…  It was less fun to notice how few of the people I know would have to win the lottery to get these things.

To wake up each day and say, “ah…… thank you for another day”  would be a giant improvement.  Everybody — from Oprah to Buddhist monks to Deepak Chopra to anyone you can name with a book about the five (or six, or seven) keys to happiness — recommends it:  a gratitude practice.

So what am I grateful for in this moment?  I’m grateful for the snow falling down, the smell of soup on the stove, coffee – always coffee, Jack sleeping at my feet (snoring just a little bit), a movie to watch for later, my cyber-community, friends who call, friends to walk with, a good book to finish for book group tomorrow, book group, Christmas and how much I love baking for it, shopping for it, decorating for it, a neighbor turning one years old this week showing that there is always new life, too, chocolate, a fireplace, my camera, my threads, a healthy family, family – period, my cashmere sweater (I know where to find them for $10!!), my wool socks, the smell of balsam, this energized rat terrier making me smile…. for having time to create.

What are YOU grateful for today? And more, how do you keep yourself feeling grateful?  Do you keep a journal?  Pray?  How do you intervene with you notice that you are feeling sour or downtrodden?