Too often it takes trauma and tragedy to force us to look at our lives with fresh eyes. To re-prioritize. To let go of the little things and to show our love and gratitude daily. I wish we could just remember to do those things on our own, but we easily get swept away by the daily and weekly issues that loom larger than life in our short-sighted vision.
We seize on the differences in opinions or philosophies or beliefs and we inflate them to a size disproportionate to their importance. We get hung up on the unmarked bumps and detours in our days.
But there is SO.MUCH. to be thankful for. So much to appreciate, to marvel at, to sing praise for.
And I don't want it to take grief and sadness to remind me of just how lucky and blessed I am.
I've been thinking about this a lot lately. Over the last couple of years, too many of my most-loved people have been drop-kicked by pain and suffering. Illness, betrayal, and loss hung like a heavy fog over life for a while.
And now I am deciding to make a few promises to myself.
I will let go of the little things that don't really matter. Seriously, life is too short to stress about things not going according to plan.
I will not invite drama into my life nor will I let it stay when it crashes in uninvited. I'm so over it.
I will show my love and express gratitude to the people in my life. Why do we wait until people get sick or die before we talk about how great they are and how much we love them? Why do we keep to ourselves the qualities we admire in our friends and family, assuming they already know? Tell them now! If we don't, they may never know how we feel.
At the end of each day, no matter how stressful and tiring, I will go to my kids in gratitude. This last one may seem out of the blue, but it's a big one. There are days where I am ready to clock out but they keep on needing me to give. It is easy for me to stew in a toxic brew of resentment when I just want a chance to unwind but I am summoned back again and again. In the scheme of it, they are only little for a very short time.
So I have made it a priority that I will not get frustrated when my children need one more hug or snuggle or song or kiss at bedtime. When my boys wake for the third time before midnight or they sneak out of bed for the eightieth time or just want someone to snuggle them for just a few more minutes, I take a deep breath and I go to them and hold them and love them and cherish every moment of that closeness. I stare at their eyelashes resting on their cheeks and I smell their sweaty little heads and I rub their backs or arms and I remind myself that this time with them is so very short and sweet. And I am so, so lucky to have them.
I find that patience comes easier when I approach life with gratitude.
And I am so, so grateful for what I have today.