Thursday, November 27, 2008

My Grown Up Gratitude List

I thought that maybe since I give a list for my birthday that it might be nice to give a grown up gratitude list, a list of things that I have found and find myself grateful for that have been revealed to me this year. I say revealed because some of the things on the list aren't simply the usual things that we rattle off when we are given the five kernels of corn as a favor at a Thanksgiving dinner, many are familiar with this tradition practiced in many homes where you are to offer a thankfulness for each kernel of corn on the table in front of you.

My family doesn't do this, in fact since Pop passed away in 2006 the annual Thanksgiving meal has been one that Mom and I shared while my sisters went to their in-laws or did whatever it was that they were doing that day. Thanksgiving was really not a large holiday when I was growing up, generally it was just our household at the table. I well recall my father's table grace, not invoked often but it went like this, “The Lord knows we are grateful or he would not have given it to us.” I suppose that it was my father's public prayer and not his personal prayer. I learned hours before he died that my father was a man of prayer, something that I really didn't know, but do we really know that about one another?

So here goes, my Grown Up Gratitude List:

I am grateful that when I was suffering in heart intensely after Thanksgiving last year, I found a swift kick in the Levis was the cure.

I'm thankful that I felt that swift kick a week later and followed in the direction of the trajectory.

I'm thankful that I found a place to worship where I can worship without distraction, where falling to one's knees to pray is not expected, but accepted. A posture of humbleness for me I am grateful that I came to accept that practice early on.

I'm thankful that I have a caring family, actually, I have two, one of blood and one of choice. The ones of choice are not called friends in this case, they are truly a family of choice and if they read this, I want them to know that my gratitude for them is as deep and as intense as that for my family of blood.

I'm thankful that I have a few friends who go above and beyond simple caring, they love with an intensity that could only be compared to being in that area that spans both friend and family. Thinking of a couple of them, I know that they pray for me daily, that they worry about me when things are rough and they know that I offer the same for them, I am grateful beyond measure for them and I am grateful that I can do the same for them, that God has given me strength and insight to do so.

I'm grateful to God for those who minister to me, theirs is surely the kingdom of heaven. I'm grateful to my parish priest for the way that he has been a support to me in these last few months, understanding grief and the dark nights of the soul. I am grateful for my friends Tom and Beth who have held my hand on two of the most difficult days of this year. I offer thanksgiving for Moot and Poot for the way that they minister, not just to me, but to a host of others, that goes for Tom and Beth as well. I am grateful as well for a some others who have held my hand in a virtual way through cyberspace, it's been like they were here in my living room hearing me when I could tell no one else.

I'm grateful to Troy and Duane who came to care when I needed it.

I'm so thankful that I was able to walk from one job to another without having to see one day without pay.

I'm thankful for opportunities that presented themselves in odd ways, but without a doubt in my mind where the workings of God in my life.

I'm thankful for having food and an appetite, many don't have one, the other or both. In that line I am thankful that to date I've lost about 20+ pounds.

I offer gratitude for a dry place to live, warm unless the wind beats in from the northwest. Then I am grateful for the steam when it comes and the layers that I can put on until it does. So I am grateful to have warm clothing too.

I am grateful for and to my mother, who loves me and does a tremendous favor for me each week as she does my laundry. (For those reading this, she wants to do it, I don't ask her and I see that she knows my appreciation and thankfulness.) I'm thankful for her beyond measure, she knows me so well, listens to my stories and groanings and laughs at my jokes...still.

I'm thankful that she puts my shirts on wire hangers and doesn't beat me with them. I love you mommy dearest.

I'm thankful that I have transportation and that gas has gone down.

I offer gratitude for the music that I can listen to that comforts and sooths, like the music I'm listening to as I write this.

I'm grateful that I've been able to avoid Christmas in July, August, September, October and most of November and that I've not heard Silent Night yet.


This year there is another list of gratitudes that will tell where else I've been on my journey through the last few pages of the calendar. For many this list might be cryptic, that's okay, we don't have to know everything in order to understand another's gratitude, and some of the things that we are grateful for are deeply personal and yet somehow only seem to be even more valuable when they are said aloud.

I have a great measure of gratitude for a hand laid on the left shoulder when approached from behind.

I so treasure and am so grateful for 6:30am phone calls that I still look at the clock at that time and wait for for the phone to ring, even though it doesn't.

I'm grateful for hand holding, there is no greater feeling of comfort when there is no discomfort.

I'm very grateful for the imperfections in body and yet even more grateful to God for the way that those imperfections are made perfect in his time and in his presence.

I'm grateful beyond measure that God has provided a comfort in the sunrises that I see along the interstate as I drive to work, reminders that there is another side of the sunrise where things are even more beautiful.

Equally I am grateful for the sunset that I saw on the way home from work the other day, so beautiful it defies description, I can only say that now I understand why no word rhymes with orange, it keeps poets from describing sunsets like that one, they couldn't do it justice and shouldn't try.

I'm thankful that there aren't enough hymnals in church and that sometimes we have to share.

I'm thankful for first times and last times.

I'm grateful to God that he provides a time and a place for everything, a season for everything and a measure for everything. That we can experience his plan and find knowledge, pleasure, peace and comfort in every life experience. Even in hardship he provides a time and place for us to learn what needs to be learned, even if the lesson is, “be quiet and lesson.” God in his wisdom gives us a season and a time to forget, many times we consider that an infirmity, but I'm not sure that it really is.

I am thankful that I have had opportunities to love, give of myself and share and that for an undetermined amount of time I may continue to do so.

I am thankful for tears, they come with joy, sorrow and belly laughs.

I am thankful that my first heart surgery won't be installation.

I call this a Grown Up Gratitude List as a bit of a take on the holiday song, “My Grown Up Christmas List.” That list calls for people to get a long, no war, food for everyone...and so on. My gratitude list is sincerely a list that gets pondered on so often, not every item every day, but every item sometime. We don't realize that we are grateful for somethings until it slaps us in the face, we don't know that we have enough or enough to share until we are called upon to do so and often we don't know how grateful we are for something until we don't have it anymore. Then there are times when we are grateful for things and experiences from the time we have them until the time they are gone. I am truly thankful that I can say Thank You and I'm Grateful and not have to fear that anyone will say...”for that?” I'd have to respond, “yes, even for that.”

This is my Grown Up Gratitude List.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Rita Vernon said...

Don,
I love your list. I particularly like that you were grateful for specific people in your life. Many of those learning moments seem to happen though those who love us. I had a somewhat different list of my own this year. (Must be the year for it. :-)) I am usually thankful for family, but this year, as I contemplated everything that has occurred within our small, immediate family over the years, I became really thankful for my family. Let me see if I can explain.
My husband Jim served in the Navy for 26 years. He served in Nicaruga during the time of the Sandinistas (This one gave him nightmares), Libya and the Gulf War. As he did not always stay on the ship, I am lucky he is live. Our oldest was diagonosed with a somewhat bizarre heart problem at 26 years old. It is controled by medicine but it was scarry there for a while until they were able to regulate her heart beats. Her husband is currently serving his 2nd tour in Iraq. He has been blown out of a jeep several times now. We are fortunate that he is suffering from only cracked vertebra, hearing loss and post tramatic stress disorder. Clay being dianosed with cancer and then the cancer going into total remission contrary to the expectations of the doctors was a real miracle. (Clay says he was treated by the Great Physician and I have to concur.) We came real close to losing our Youngest daughter this summer as a result of complications from pregnancy. Kind of scary to realize that there is still the potential for women to die in childbirth. Fortunately she is doing fine and our grandson is flouishing.
We still have problems. After all no one has a perfect life. Still, I can no longer look at my family and feel the same old kind of tepid thankfulness I used to feel. There is now a deeper gratitude to God for the blessings of family that he has bestowed on me. Once I really acknowledged this deep gratitued it has given me a whole new perspective on just how much God blesses us and how little we often percieve what he does for us.
So - my prayer for you is that you will experience God's blessings to the fullest this Christmas season and all the years through.

Mery Christmas Don,
Rita

8:15 PM  
Blogger Don Bryant said...

Rita,
Our family, like all families I suppose, is a center for miracles. How blessed we are in so very many ways.

In life, and its abundance we are able to dance and sing and in life and its disasters and travesties we are able to embrace and encourage, what's more, you and I have families that care and support, pray for one another and know that we can call out to one another not just in our joy and sorrow, but in our daily walk to just say, hello.

We have much to be grateful for, and it's easy to make a list and it's easy to have the simplicity of children and say, "I'm thankful for my puppy," but we know that there is so much more.

We are truly walking miracles and all life is sacred. Thanks be to God.
Don

8:37 PM  
Blogger huda noor said...


الاول افضل شركة تنظيف خزانات بالرياض تستخدم مادة الابوكسي في تنظيغ و تطهير خزنات مياه الشرب بارخص الاسعار يمكنك الاستعانة بنا في اعمال غسيل خزانات بالرياض لتحصل على افضل الخدمات
شركة الاول للخدمات

5:50 PM  
Blogger nader galal said...

افضل شركة تنظيف مسابح بالرياض
ارخص شركة تنظيف مسابح بالرياض
تنظيف مسابح بالرياض
تنظيف مسابح
نظافة مسابح
شركة تنظيف مسابح بالرياض
شركة تنظيف المسبح

9:06 PM  
Blogger nader galal said...

افضل شركة تنظيف مسابح بالرياض
ارخص شركة تنظيف مسابح بالرياض
تنظيف مسابح بالرياض
تنظيف مسابح
نظافة مسابح
شركة تنظيف مسابح بالرياض
شركة تنظيف المسبح
السلام عليكم عملائنا الكرام مما لا شك فيه ان كلنا نعلم اهميه برك السباحه والمسابح فى حياتنا لما لها من اهميه كبيره جدا فى حياتنا اليوميه خاصه فى فصل
الصيف تعد المسابح من افضل وسائل الترفيه في وقتنا المعاصر حيث ان الاطفال والكبار وكل الناس يستمتعون بالمسبح عندما يكون الجو حار لى يخفضو من درجه حراره الجسم والاسمتاع
بالحياه هناك انواع كثيره جدا واشكال متنوعه من المسابح اصبحت فى بيوتنا بكثره خاصه هذه الايام واصبحت منتشره جدا فكل منا يعلم اهميتها ومن ثم ذالك يجب
علينا الاعتناء بالمسابح والحفاظ عليها من اى شوائب او جراثيم لان الشخص عندما يقوم بالنزول في المسبح فأن
مسام الجلد تتفتح وبالتالى عند وجود اى شوائب او جراثيم فسوف تقوم بأختراق مسام الجلد وتسبيب الكثير من الامراض التي لم نشعر بها إلا علي المدي البعيد لذالك
يجب علينا جميعا الاعتناء بالمسابح للحفاظ على صحتنا وصحه اولادنا من اي امراض ولكي يستمتعوو بصحه
جيده كانت المسابح فى قديم الزمان غير منتشره كما فى وقتنا المعاصر وذالك بسبب الخوف من الفيروسات التى كانت منتشره والخوف من البلهارسيا........الخ
اما في وقتنا الحاضر لم يعد منزل لا يحتوى علي مسبح الا قليل جدا اصبحت المسابح منتشره
جدا فى الفلل والاماكن التى يوجد فيها درجات حراره عاليه للتلطيف من درجه حراره الجو والاستمتاع ب الجو اوصيكم جمعيا الحفاظ علي صحتكم
من كل سوء وشر _ كل ما عليكم احبتي الكرام ان تتواصلو مع شركتنا شركه زين لتنظيف المسابح حيث ان شركتنا تعد من افضل

5:27 PM  

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