Monday Smiles – 10/13/2014
I’ve posted before about my friend who says that, Gratitude isn’t a feeling it’s an action. I know what she means, too, that we can practice gratitude even when we’re not feeling grateful, for example, by making a gratitude list. But of course, my friend isn’t entirely accurate either. I can think of at least three kinds of gratitude that indeed are feelings and there may be more. There’s Type 1, that overwhelming rush I get when something wonderful happens, a sudden windfall or a joyous vacation or a friend recovering from an illness. As much as we humans seem to be programmed to take things for granted, these are moments we will remember for the rest of our lives. Then there are those days when we wake up with our new eyes on and in spite of the humdrum around us, we notice things. The cat greets us at the bedroom door or a particularly sassy blue jay takes a bath in the birdbath. A loved one says, I love you, just when we need to hear it or a friend calls unexpectedly. It’s Type 2 gratitude and it makes our eyes shine and the humdrum seem less important for a few wonderful minutes. Then there’s Type 3, the there-but-for-fortune sort of gratitude when we look upon someone elses misfortune, whether it be a homeless man on the corner with a badly scrawled sign that says, NO FOOD. NO MONEY. PLEASE HELP. GOD BLESS or a friend who’s struggling with the early effects of Alzheimers. We instinctively think, Thank God it’s not me, then (maybe) throw in a God bless them in order to not feel so guilty about our self-centeredness. But there’s a spiritual value in this most bittersweet gratitude, too …. it may make us grateful for the million things in this life we take for granted every day.
In most ways, this was a good weekend. My wife, Muri, and I have recovered from our trip to Rome (Rome! Italy!). Friday, we went to the beach, then out to dinner at my favorite brew-pub, J.T. Schmidt. Saturday, Muri made eggplant parmesan for dinner and we watched my USC Trojans do their level best to lose another game they should have had won. Fortunately, they won because the Arizona kicker missed a short field goal. Believe me, an uninspiring win is preferable to an evening of sulkiing. Just ask Muri. And on Sunday, we saw an excellent film, The Judge, that brought back fond memories of my Dad. Unfortunately, it brought to mind not so fond recognitions about my relationship with my son, too. Friends in my 12-Step meetings are struggling with the loss or impending loss of loved ones, and with our Thursday Night Men’s Group retreat coming up this weekend, I’m missing my friend Stan. My sister is not doing well back in Connecticut, so my brother and sister in law are headed back to help. I reached Sunday Night with a case of the blues.
So, I called my sponsor last night and again this morning and I talked about my sister’s issues with Muri. We delivered Meals On Wheels this morning then went to lunch at Mimi’s Restaurant (service, food and time spent with the one you love most does wonders). And now I’m in the park, ready for some Type 3 Gratitude. Here’s to … health … a roof over my head … a functional memory … the Love of My Life by my side … great friends … enough to eat … financial security … and interesting work at 70. Here’s to my brother and his wife for taking care of my sister. Yes, it’s Monday and I’m feeling grateful for Another Day in God’s World … and I’m smiling.