My morning routine is to get up at 6:30, exercise, and then go out for a three-mile walk. I do this – moaning and groaning – five days a week. I look forward to Saturdays and Sundays when I let myself off the hook. I sleep in, pump no iron, pound no pavement. Each weekday, I tell myself to be grateful that I am able to exercise, able to go for a walk. This coaxing and cajoling does not really help. Finding gratitude is as difficult as getting out of bed.
And then my son had a bicycle accident, and broke his collarbone. Days later, my good friend and walking partner had a kidney stone, and needed surgery. Noting human fragility all around me, I was suddenly a live wire of gratitude. I was thankful for my pain-free collarbone and kidneys. I was grateful for my ability to wake up, get up, exercise, and walk. Reading the morning Cincinnati Enquirer felt like a religious experience or perhaps a revival meeting. There was so much to be grateful for! Hallelujah!
There were stories that reminded me of happy memories.
- Schneider’s Sweet Shop was featured in a “Local Buzz” section heralding summer treats. I visited this Bellevue, Kentucky shop when a friend and I took a three-day trip to visit five restaurants that had been featured on Guy Fieri’s TV show, Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives. I was grateful for friends, travel, fun foods, and taste buds that work.
- The sports page always reminds me of my dad who was a big St. Louis Cardinals fan. While I rarely read anything in this part of the paper, I flip through it daily looking for the baseball section – MLB as they label it – remembering Dad fondly. My faith teaches me that the dead live on in the memory of those who loved them. I am grateful that something so small as those three letters keep my beloved dad alive. (And by the way, when I see a story about BLM, my brain rearranges the letters, and I think of him too.)
There were things that reminded me of the wonderfulness of my daily life:
- The Shower Oasis ad touted remodeled bathrooms. I have one of those thanks to a different remodeling company, and I love it! In fact, I love everything about my house! I have never gone to a Home-A-Rama type event and found a house that I like better. I am grateful to be so content.
- The “Dennis the Menace” cartoon made me thankful as a writer. Wikipedia tells me that this daily cartoon originated in 1951. Can you imagine having to write everything from the point of view of a challenging child? Can you imagine having to do it daily? Lucky for me, I write a slice-of-life blog, and can write about any topic, and I only post stories twice a month.
- Ditto the daily Jumble It would scramble my brain to have to write puns every single day. But in case the Jumble guys need an idea, here’s one now: What do you call a very grateful knight? Sir Thanksalot.
There were horrible headlines that thankfully did not involve me or my loved ones:
- Wisconsin tavern shooting sees 3 slain, 2 hurt…
- Closing arguments in Chauvin trial today…
- The obituaries…
And there were things that reminded me of a new form of gratitude found at age sixty-nine:
- Thanks to Med Mart for reminding me I can still walk without a scooter and travel between floors without a stair lift.
- Thanks to The Ashford for reminding me that I am still safe living at home. A facility for independent or assisted living is only a newspaper ad, not a research project.
- Thanks to “Speed Bump” cartoonist, Dave Coverly, for reminding me that my memory isn’t as bad as it might be. His comic strip pictures a naked man about to walk out of his front door saying, “I’ve got my phone, wallet, and keys – but I still feel like I’m forgetting something.” Hallelujah! I’m not that far gone!
In the end, I came away with this thought:
I realize that being giddy with gratitude is not a sustainable condition. Reading tomorrow’s newspaper will not be a religious experience, and I am only days away from moaning and groaning again when it is time to exercise and take my morning walk. But for today? Today I am grateful for all the above listed things. I’m even grateful for feeling grateful. Amen.