Simple Gifts

When Baking Cookies is an Act of Intentional Gratitude: Day Thirty-Five

(Sometimes it’s tough to feel at home in your own city.  Which is why I’ve given myself a challenge:  each day, for forty days, I’m going to find *one* thing I love about this place.  And then I’m going to tell you about it.  If you want to follow my journey, start here.  Today is Day Thirty-Five). 

forthemailman1

Yesterday, on an afternoon of slow, steady rain, I mixed flour and baking soda and salt in a bowl.

Creamed butter and sugar.

Cracked eggs.

And it might have looked like I was just baking cookies on a lazy Sunday, and that was true — but I was also doing something deeper.

I was teaching my heart to be grateful in a new way.

*

When I started this little blog 35 days ago, I made a commitment to be grateful for one thing about my city every day.

And that was good.

But I am learning, slowly, that gratitude is a multi-layered process … wider and deeper and thicker than I thought.

And also more complicated.

Let me explain what I mean:

You can be grateful for something.  But you can also be grateful to something — or someone.  Grateful to surpasses grateful for the way a speeding locomotive shoots past a horse at full gallop.

Grateful for is good and lovely, but it’s also passive.  It assumes that the mere recognition of goodness is enough.

Grateful to is active — a deliberate expression of thanks.  A passing-on.

Grateful for is seeing the blessing.  Grateful to is becoming the blessing.

And it has a magical way of boomeranging back.

*

This morning, the dripping eaves made me think of our neighborhood mailman — the way he walks from house to house in the cold rain.

The way, when I come home for the evening in winter, I find his footprints in the snow between the sidewalk and my door.

So I took some of the cookies I made yesterday and I mounded them in a waterproof tupperware.

Wrote a card.

Left the parcel perched on top of my mailbox just by the front door.

And this is a small thing, yes.  But often we do nothing because we’re afraid that the thing we might do is too small.

And that’s a shame.

*

Oh God, let me find gratitude for small things:

Feathers.

Sunsets.

Leaves.

But let me also express gratitude in small ways:

Words.

Homemade cookies.

The briefest human touch…

Teach me how.

forthemailman2

Amen.

 

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