Experts laud the science of gratitude – I have no reason not to believe them. And I know from experience that an attitude of gratitude is probably the best disposition for human flourishing.
I also know how it feels when a reminder to be grateful for the blessings I know I have feels like another tepid and lumpy ladleful of guilt (because I can’t!) heaped on an already overflowing cup of guilt and misery.
Everything good comes from God, and I would say that includes the ability to be able to see and appreciate his gifts at any one time. A priest once told me to pray as I was able, and not to worry about the ways or times I wasn’t. I think that advice might also apply to the very worthy practice of gratitude – ie. do it as much as you can. And don’t stress if you can’t quite manage it for a while.
So that’s kind of a long way of saying I really enjoyed last weekend, and I’m glad I was able to appreciate it. It turned out to be full of all my favourite things with the bare minimum of planning involved. And I am grateful!
So far 2020 has a been a bitter-sweet moment for me – the pandemic’s many devastations have also allowed for a desperately-needed slower pace of life on the personal front.
We’re still busy, but I don’t feel like I’m constantly at risk of drowning.
There’s been some time to pull out old favourite books to read together, new recipes to try, for conversations and family walks, to listen to a long discourse about someone’s current favourite video game or the current favourite kind of sandwich. To marvel at how much damage a caterpillar almost too small to see can do to butter lettuce leaves I’ve had my eye on for a week. To notice when the moon is full. To enjoy the bus ride into the office when I do go in.
It’s been a time to better experience the minutiae of daily life, and in experiencing it, I’ve got an opportunity to make a little hay in the gratitude stakes while the sun is shining.
Saturday’s moving parts included for me a quick grocery shop (next time I will definitely be wearing a mask because it was packed, and anyway, it’s practically required from this week in NSW), a quick trip to the cheap local hairdressers for the boys (whose prices have gone up so it might be back to the clippers for me), an afternoon’s potted gardening and a teenager’s basketball game later at night.
Sunday’s gift was the perfect example of a perfect Sydney winter’s day and was full of my favourite things from start to finish including a picnic with family and friends (on the back lawn), a long companionable afternoon walk (some of the more energetic companions opted to jog for part of it, inexplicably, I don’t understand running anywhere if you don’t have to??) and a beautiful couldn’t-be-more-simple Mass with our favourite priest and one of my favourite pieces of scripture (from Romans Chapter 8).
I think it’s always apt but seems particularly so for these times of pandemic and global distress.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?….No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.