Gratitude…takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God. For the grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference. –Thomas Merton
I don’t know what it is about “Jordan Children”, but they are absolutely delightful when they open gifts.
I’m not just saying this because I’m the Jordan Mama.
I used to think Aaron and Lizi were grateful because Ryan showed such a great example of gratefulness. He was just one of those kind of kids, and I was certain the other two learned from him. But now, with the Little Wonder who hasn’t really lived with all of his siblings at birthday parties or even Christmas, I’m speechless.
He celebrated six years of life yesterday. Of course, we had a special birthday dinner including all of his favorites–macaroni and cheese (vegan), steamed broccoli and a tomato cucumber salad. Following dinner, we gave Ev his birthday gifts to open.
Here is a glimpse into that part of our evening.
The first gift Ev opens is from my mother. He carefully opens the gift bag and holds up a fleece jacket with total delight in his eyes, “Oh wow!!!! A sweatshirt of my very own to wear! Now I’ll just have to grow into it!”
He says this as though he’s never owned a sweatshirt in his life. He has.
“Yes! And pants and a shirt.”
My mom interjects more in my direction than Ev’s, “That’s a matching set, Evan.”
With eyes full of wonder Ev gushes, “A matching set?! Oh wow! Mom look! I got a matching set! I Iove it!”
The gift opening continued until like this even through underwear–the Lego Chima variety. At the underwear opening, you’d have thought he got a new bike with all the excitement he exuded. In fact, he was so excited he had to wear them to bed last night.
I love the gratitude.
At the school where I teach, I’m always reminding my kids of ways to be grateful and reasons they have for gratitude. They listen intently as though they’ve never heard such things.
Is it just me? Am I the only one who preaches a gospel of gratitude?
We have so much for which to be grateful.
So. very. much.
Even in my darkest night of experiences, I have looked for those places where light shines through the cracks. Oh the cracks are still there, but somehow my heart feels lighter when I focus in the light instead of the cracks.
Maybe I am one of those eternal, infernal optimists (I had a coworker tell me this once), but I wasn’t always. I used to be very sarcastic. I loved sarcastic humor, and I thrived on cynicism.
But I’ve changed.
Or maybe a truer statement is that life has changed me.
Sarcastic and caustic negativity is a choice. It’s a choice that most often hurts those we love and inhibits our ability to love freely and experience life filled with grace.
When our focus is on the good–on beauty–so often our whole perspective changes. We may still struggle with the wrong shape of certain things in our lives, but in that struggle we will begin to see the glimmer of light shining through the cracks.