As I have mentioned before, I am a nonstop list maker. I have lists for the grocery store, lists for phone calls to be made, lists for projects begging to be completed and even lists of lists. I love the feeling I get when I can cross off an item or two on one of my lists. I confess that I have been known to add a task I have already completed only for the joy of immediately drawing a line through it. These lists are factual and objective. They are about stuff- stuff that I buy in the store, arrange to have repaired or reminders to check up on work done by others.
I now have a new type of list I am working on. This one keeps growing. Nothing is ever crossed off, only added. It is my gratitude list.
Each entry on the gratitude list is short, only a few words. In reading them I immediately conjure up an image. I have a mental picture of my daughters and of my husband, who certain rank at the top of my gratitude list. I think of the unique qualities each has and what makes those special to me. Even though this seems obvious, every time I see their names on the list I think of yet another reason to be grateful they are a part of my life.
Much more mundane occurrences make the list. I am grateful for the birds who flit by my kitchen window stopping to feed on the grain I put out. I am grateful for rain at night when it beats on my roof lulling me to sleep.
At first I felt a little silly writing things such as, “I am grateful for the fresh homemade pasta my husband makes.” It seemed trivial. Then I thought some more. I am grateful. It made the list.
I pulled out my list this morning. Our family is facing a critical event. I write this as I am sitting in a hospital room watching my father’s labored breathing. He already holds a place on my gratitude list, but it needs to be updated. I could write many pages for the things he has taught me, laughed with me, scolded me, always nurturing me. I am grateful for the word games we invented. I am grateful for the hundreds of hours he read bedtime stories to me. I am grateful for his teaching me how to eat lox and bagels. I am grateful he always believed in me.
I am sorry he’ll never see my gratitude list. We will most likely lose him tonight. But he will live on and on in my heart and I will continue to update the list next to his name.
If you haven’t started your own gratitude list, I urge you to begin.