Gratitude: Friends

“Why did you do all this for me?’ he asked. ‘I don’t deserve it. I’ve never done anything for you.’

‘You have been my friend,’ replied Charlotte. ‘That in itself is a tremendous thing.”

~ E.B. White, Charlotte’s Web

I have often felt deprived in certain parts of my life: in love, in wealth, and general good fortune. The one constant blessing and gift that I have had is the fact that I indisputably have the best of friends.

Day 5: I have been, am now, and forever will be, grateful for my circle of friends. The circle is eclectic and diverse, filled with strong ass women and the most gentle and protective of men.

Most of my friendships have withstood the tests of time, distance, and circumstances. And the newer friendships I have made, I have been fortunate to have met people who genuinely have good hearts, people who have shown me that true friendship does not require a history, and they have shown that people can truly care about you even after knowing you for a short period of time.

(made by a lifelong friend in 2000)

Gratitude: Healing

“Scars. A sign that you had been hurt. A sign that you had healed.” ~ Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Last year G was cutting herself. The skin on her arms had become red and raised from the constant trauma she inflicted on her own flesh. It hurt me to look at them because it was a blatant indication of how much she was suffering inside. I had asked her why she cut herself and she said it was to dull the internal pain she was feeling. The physical pain of the flesh made it easier to bear the pain of her mind and soul.

Day 4: I am grateful for the healing process G is experiencing, both inside and out. The skin on her arms is no longer raw. The scars are still clearly there, but her skin has smoothed out. At the beginning of her healing journey, she wore a lot of long-sleeved shirts. She said she felt embarrassed of her arms since the scars were so telling of how they came to exist. She now wears regular shirts and even tank tops. She does not flash her scars, but she does not go to lengths to hide them either. She says that the scars are now a part of who she is, and she has expressed a few times of how she feels proud of what she has overcome.

I am not naive, however, and am fully aware of the steps forward and the steps backward in the healing process. Some days are better than others, but the bad days remarkably have become less and less.

Gratitude: Air Travel

“Sometimes the most remarkable things seem commonplace. I mean when you think about it jet travel is pretty freaking remarkable. You get in a plane it defies the gravity of a entire planet by exploiting a loophole with air pressure and it flies across distances that would take months or years to cross by any means of travel that has been significant for more than a century or three. You hurtle above the earth at enough speed to kill you instantly should you bump into something and you can only breathe because someone built you a really good tin can that seems tight enough to hold in a decent amount of air. Hundreds of millions of man-hours of work and struggle and research blood sweat tears and lives have gone into the history of air travel and it has totally revolutionized the face of our planet and societies.

But get on any flight in the country and I absolutely promise you that you will find someone who in the face of all that incredible achievement will be willing to complain about the drinks.” ~ Jim Butcher, Summer Knight

Day 3: I am grateful that air travel was invented. I am able to travel at least twice a year to see my family in the Philippines. I am grateful that I can fly to nearly everywhere on Earth. I am grateful for all the air travel that I have been privileged to take, and I look forward to discovering more places in the future.

Gratitude: Plants

“Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there.

It doesn’t matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away. The difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching, he said. The lawn-cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime.”

~ Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

Day 2: I am grateful for a newly acquired skill of being able to keep plants alive. A former certified plant-killer, I am reformed and have now successfully kept four plants alive for nearly a year. For those with green thumbs, this probably makes you laugh, but for me, this is a major accomplishment. Every day, I wake up and check on my plant babies. I turn their pots around daily so that a different part of their leaves gets sunlight.

Forty Days of Gratitude

“The season of Lent is the time for us to take a journey; an inward journey. The season of Lent is as the prophet Joel writes, “a time for us to rend our hearts and not our clothing.” It is a time for self-examination; a time to get to know ourselves a little better. Often times for Lent people will give up a favorite food, or some other form of self-sacrifice. These things are all well and good IF they come from the heart, IF they are a true attempt to re-connect with the Spirit inside us. Otherwise, we are simply “rending” our clothes.”Rev. R.J. Hronek, 47 Days: A Lenten Devotional and Journaling Guide

This year I decided that I am not going to give up anything, but rather, I am going to attempt to do something challenging, something enduring, for forty days.

My challenge this Lent Season is to write down one thing each day for which I am grateful.

Day 1: Today, I am grateful for my job. I had my annual review earlier today, and I found out today that I am valued by my firm. It felt lovely to be praised and acknowledged by the people with whom I spend so many days of my life.