This post originally appeared on our old blog Born to be a Bride.
There’s been a lot of talk on social media recently about gratitude, something I find necessary to mull over often. There are those who feel superstitious about being too grateful — what if you say you appreciate something and then it disappears? How do you adjust to the change? How do you figure out what you deserve, or justify all of your blessings when there are so many in the world who go without?
We can’t possibly understand how any of us got to where we are, or how long or under what circumstances we’ll stay there. We can’t know what lies ahead or what we’ll think later of what we’re doing now. But once in a while I like to have a good hard think about the fact that I happened into this truly blessed life. And if you’re lucky enough to have a computer, a smart phone, a break from work to read a blog, a few dollars in your pocket, and coffee in your cup, you’re truly blessed, too. We might race through our day-to-day in a blaze of to-do lists, unanswered phone calls, and stacked bills, but sometimes we need to take pause and reflect on the things we are truly grateful to have, even memories.
I won’t ruminate on them all right now, but a quick list won’t hurt anyone on a cool and rainy Monday. I’m grateful for the beauty of a Long Island sunset over the sound, with a soft and well-worn hoodie blocking my hair from whipping in the end-of-summer wind. The taste of fresh mozzarella and the feel of a heavy silk satin skirt being pulled up over black tights. The look on my husband’s face when I’ve delivered a joke that worked, and his eyes crinkle just slightly at the edges before he throws his head back in laughter. The soft and warm snuggliness of our sweet cat and dog, always open for affection. My friends who are scattered from Connecticut and Manhattan to New Jersey, Texas, Ohio, California, and beyond. They might not be sitting in my living room sharing a cup of coffee with me, but they’re always inside of my heart.
And there’s the beautiful family I had no right being born into but love more and more every day… most importantly the newest member who grows steadily in my belly, banging her little fists and feet on the walls often and shifting around for comfort as if to say, “Mom, I’d like to remind you that I’m here, but I still need some more rest before I come out to meet you.” Every time I look at her father my heart melts just a little more… I am in the presence of my beloved every day, and that is a very good thing.
In addition to these things I can enjoy and turn over in my mind, there are pieces left behind. I am grateful to the beautiful state of Texas, where I went with trepidation and ended up finding a second home. I miss those Dallas streets and quiet stretches of highway with countryside rolling off in the distance. The food, the sense of American pride, the magnitude of that roasting sun. Feeling like a piece of my soul was left behind in Texas is the small way of saying how much I miss it. But what I brought with me from that home I never expected to have, will stay in my heart forever.
No, we don’t know why we ended up with so much — or when certain aspects will fall apart and how badly they’ll do so. Life is a complicated journey and many moments are very hard, but sometimes I think it’s okay — important, even — to make yourself a little list and read it over. To remember how much you are grateful for, and to radiate that love out into the world.