(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).
Yesterday, on an afternoon of slow, steady rain, I mixed flour and baking soda and salt in a bowl.
Creamed butter and sugar.
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:
But let me also express gratitude in small ways:
The briefest human touch…
Teach me how.