It has been aeons since I wrote here.
In my defence, I have ten-plus drafts languishing on my hard-drive. To be brutally honest though, the aforementioned defence wears mighty thin even to my biased eyes. Alas, the truth will out!
Since I have the weekend free—praised be the Lord—I told myself I must write something. The hurdle that tripped me up instantly was the eternal question: What Do I Write About?
How about parenting? I quipped cleverly, inadvertently prodding the beast awake. Dammit!
Are you nuts? No way I’m writing about THAT! roared the other. You know the OTHER, don’t you? She’s the annoying pest whose only job seems to be shooting down perfectly valid suggestions while contributing zilch in that department.
Why ever not? I wasn’t giving up. Surely you have things to say?
Of course, I have things to say. The thing is, I have too many things to say. This is supposed to be a blog post, not a five thousand-page epic, she declared, blowing on her nails and looking bored.
Hmm, said I. How about Feminism? You know, something light and peppy about how girls are being lured into fights which have already been decimated?
Noooo! Gosh! Are you bonkers? There’s no way I’m putting my nose into that hornet’s nest!
Then what shall you write about? asked I, prepared to be underwhelmed.
I’m going to write about gratitude, she said.
We take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude. ~ Cynthia Ozick Click To Tweet.
My jaw dropped to my lap (I was sitting). I mean, for this nuisance to actually come up with a decent suggestion! This was huge! But I maintained the inscrutability of a stuffed fish. Catch me making it easier for the brat!
Gratitude? Bah, everybody and their aunt waxes eloquent over it. It has been written to death. Moreover, what will you say that hasn’t been said a million times before—and by better pens than yours?
Maybe it has. For that matter, all the stories of the universe have already been told. Still, people haven’t stopped writing them, have they?
I feel compelled to talk about one aspect of gratitude that isn’t often mentioned–and I shall do so. I’ve always written what I have wanted to… and in exactly the manner I have liked, she declared, her chin stuck out (figuratively, you understand).
Well, yes. You’ve always been a bit of a fathead that way. Pugnaciously so, truth be told, I said, pulling no punches. One needs to know where one’s at. And if you don’t speak frankly to the numb-skull who lives in your head, who are you going to speak frankly to?
She glared but deigned to say nothing. I had known she wouldn’t.
So what about gratitude then? I asked.
Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.
~ Eckhart Tolle
Well, I think, for all the buzz about it, most people feel it pretty seldom. They feel a watered-down version of it sometimes but not many have experienced the pure, raw variety the cleanses you to your soul, she said, her tone hushed, brooding.
I couldn’t deny the truism of that one. One has to be fair, after all.
That’s a pithy observation. The kind that might ruffle a few downy feathers, I said. She paid no attention to the note of warning in my tone.
People command each other to feel positive, be positive and think positively, she said, sounding peeved.
Isn’t that such a dumb thing to say? If I’m feeling down-in-the-dumps, hopeless and every kind of negative, your demand that I feel positive just makes me want to wrap that demand round your neck and pull hard, I said, seething.
You were always excitable, weren’t you? she looked at me as if I was a slug.
Only the dead aren’t excitable, I declared pompously.
Oh, hush! Don’t hijack the topic with your silliness! she said. I was not pleased and decided to give her the shoulder.
Instead of exhorting a sad person to feel positive, why don’t they get the person started on a gratitude list? You can’t feel worthless when you are compelled to remember that there are things in your life that you are happy and grateful about, she said.
But how will someone drowning in misery and a feeling of worthlessness find anything to be grateful for? I asked.
They won’t. That’s why they need help to get started with a list. It is human nature to focus on things that aren’t working the way you imagined they would and ignore the good things. Like a well-behaved child versus a brat of a child, she said.
Umm, I didn’t get the reference, I said.
Suppose you’re visiting a friend and you have your four-year-old daughter with you. If she begins throwing the cushions on the floor, pulls the ornaments off the shelves and mutilates the flowers, you are going to pay attention to her, right?
Yeah, if the threat of a resounding slap is called paying attention, I said. The scenario was already making me go up the wall.
But if your daughter sits quietly like a well-behaved angel child, delicately staring into space for the entire visit, will you even notice her presence?
Ah! I get it now! I said.
Naturally, you would. Credit to the eloquent example, not your intelligence, she said demurely.
Humph! I said.
As long as things are working out, you feel free to forget them. But just as a well-behaved child is a blessing, so are things that are going for you. Things like your health, for example, she said.
I’m glad you brought that up! Most people have a well-rehearsed list of ailments to rattle off at the drop of a hat as proof of how unwell they are, I said.
That is why they need to be reminded of the ailments—the really huge ones—that they don’t have. If you can look down at your feet and find them above ground, you ought to be grateful for your health. Minor aches and pains, an occasional cold or headache, aren’t worth making a song and dance about, she said.
Frankly, dear reader, I was impressed. The annoying pest (refer to the description above) was talking unadulterated common sense. Who’d have guessed she was be capable of it?
I’m glad you began talking of gratitude, I said. One has got to give the devil her due.
There’s plenty more where this came from—but not today, she said fatuously.
For two pins I could have kicked her. Bah!