I learned something today about gratitude. I try, for the most part, to operate out of a spirit of love and gratefulness and humility. Sometimes I suck at this, because, like all y’all, I am human and I am not always all of those things. Sometimes I am not even any of those things. Earlier this week I was really fighting ungratefulness and a mean spirit. I am not sure why. It would be easy to blame hormones or lack of good sleep or being homesick or whatnot, but whatever the cause, I had a hard time being nice.
I didn’t really feel like writing, but all the Writing People are adamant that writing is a discipline, not a whimsical option. So I made myself write. The writing that came out of me, being in a bad place was, in a word, bad. I mean it was funny, don’t get me wrong. But maybe it was funny at the expense of people I didn’t really know… based on outside observation. Maybe it was prejudiced. Maybe it was unkind.
If my words don’t come out of a place of gratitude and love, they have no business being. It doesn’t matter if they are true. It doesn’t matter if they are funny as hell. I get this. Part of me bucks against censorship and feels like I have some inalienable right to say whatever the heck I want. Nothing that I said was SO HORRIBLE or illegal or even totally wrong, but I KNOW BETTER. I know better than to let loose words of mine that come from a place of darkness. They do nobody any good.
When the sun disappeared behind the shadow of the moon for a few brief minutes yesterday morning, it brought into startling clarity, just how much I take for granted. The world was cold. Much colder than it had been only minutes before in the light of the sun. It was dark and colorless, like the light of the sun took out every hue of green and yellow and blue and red when it left. It was the dusky colorless of the last light in the evening, when the road and the trees and the herds of whitetail deer roving dangerously among it all are the same color. This is the difference between words that come out of darkness and words that come out of light. Color and warmth are in the light. It’s just how it is.
It’s not that I shouldn’t ever be able to laugh and make light of where I am and the TRULY ridiculous things going on around me, but I know when my voice is kind and when it is not. In reality, I work with a lot of great people, in amazing places, and I feel very blessed for the years that I have done this crazy cool job.
Here is what I learned: When I am where I am supposed to be (which I try to be, most of the time), I need to be grateful and kind and humble, and if I cannot be those things, then I need to be still and quiet. I learned that I don’t like a sunless, lightless world. I want to live in the sun, in the color and the warmth. I want others to live there with me.
If the moon were a little closer to the earth, we would lose the sunlight more often. It really is an amazing thing, this astronomical system we live in. It overwhelms me to think about the infinite minutia that dictate our survival. The tiny changes in temperature, atmosphere, angles and rotations that determine how we live or die on this planet are, in a word, epic. It’s like the little changes in mood, in motivation, in voice that determine the effect of a word on the world that it lands on.
All change is facilitated either through love or through hate. Real love is born from gratitude, accepting your worth and giving it back to those around you. Hate creeps in to fill up the absence of gratitude, the ugly insecurity of the lie that you are worthless. A lie I know like the back of my hand. We are such small, insignificant parts of this giant miracle of a world. I want the change that I bring to my tiny space to be rooted in the warmth and color of love and light. I want to speak love without flattery, truth without unkindness and hope without dishonesty. I want to make people smile, and laugh, and love more.
|Photo Credit: Collin Andrew|