Gratitude in the Little Things

Blogger’s note: Please see our updated views based on reference to Rachel Hollis.

I have shared this idiosyncracy with you before but for the new arrivals: I love words. And I love words so much that when I ponder words I often like to look up their Latin or Greek root because, let’s be honest, that’s where you find the juice.

And gratitude is a word that is no different. When drilled down to its root it has gravitas (yes, another Latin word). Interestingly, gratitude and grace are derived from the same root: Gratus. It stands to reason that in order to be grateful and to have others grateful for us, grace has to be involved.

I like words that have a strong anchor when you learn more about them. I like words that have meaning and an intensity to them.

And gratitude and grace are sisters in their breadth and depth. And while these words have resonance in their meaning they are simple, as truth as always is. It makes sense then, of course, that the things for which we are most grateful are frequently minute and the most humble. I was having a conversation with a trusted friend and she was sharing about taking her kids to school. It’s a mundane task that millions take on each day and she was telling me how she has become grateful for it. She’s intentional in how she approaches it. She’s thoughtful in how she enters this practice and that’s helped her to find immense gratitude in the act of being able to shepherd her kids safely to school.

It caused me to start thinking about the things that I am grateful for in a purposeful way and when you start to pay attention you find they are small or often rote. They are the things that go unnoticed, or even the things that annoy us until they are missing.

I then read a post from Rachel Hollis in which she shared a photo of one of her kids. He was intently drawing a picture while riding on  shuttle bus. His legs were wound up together and he had a pensive, intense look on his face while he drew in a notebook. And she wrote that these are the moments she most finds gratitude. She recognizes he won’t always be this little boy. That he won’t always have a quirky, slightly awkward sense of humor and she tells herself that these are the true things of life. And she’s right.

I realize I find gratitude in the weight of a coffee mug. I like them to have substance and gravity. I like them to be ceramic so that I can cup them in my hands and feel the warmth spread up from my hands into the rest of my body. I am grateful for the way I feel when I just wake up on a cool morning and my nose may be cold but the rest of me is snuggled in and toasty. It’s the feeling just before my mind really kicks in and all I feel is present and content. I sometimes think I spend the rest of the day unconsciously chasing that feeling.

I am grateful for the unexplained kindness of strangers. When people hold doors for you and look back to catch your eye and smile — it’s the look of acknowledgment that we are in this together. I am appreciative of how it feels to have someone sit beside me and not feel the need to talk because we are both comfortable with each other and the silence.

I am grateful for my time in nature. I am grateful when the thing I have been dreading turns out better than I imagined. I am grateful that I can keep learning that things work out more often than they don’t.

I am grateful that each day I get to start again; and if I am really aware, that I get to start again with the next breath.

I am grateful for cats that make biscuits on your legs and hot water that comes out of faucets. I am thankful for well-timed jokes and knowing glances from those who have known you all your life.

And when you start to take in all these things you can simply say, I am grateful.

Sunshine & Sarcasm,
Lowi & G

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