Recently, an old friend challenged me on Facebook to take the “gratitude challenge.” While there are many different challenges going around, from “ALS Ice Bucket” to “Pay It Forward” to the already-mentioned “Gratitude,”and while all of them seem to be shedding positivity and light, taking another challenge was not something I particularly wanted to do. However, being publicly called out for all to see, the competitive nature in me took over and I agreed to spend 7 days listing three things I was grateful for. Let me begin by saying, without hesitation, I am grateful that I took on this challenge. That doesn’t count as one of my things, though!
I decided that I would start the next 7 days making my list first thing in the morning, figuring that I could get it out of the way each day and not have it hanging over my head. Yes, picking up my phone and updating my status before I even made my coffee did get it completed first thing, but instead of not thinking about it for the rest of the day, I found that I kept reflecting on those things, or people, as the day went on. Giving me slight moments of pause and making me look around and see even more to be grateful for.
As I thought of people I wanted to list, more people came to mind. Some life-long friends, some old bosses who have no idea how much they helped shape me. I wanted to thank teachers and those family friends who help keep the memory of my mother alive. I have new friends who don’t even know how much their presence in my life is affecting me. I didn’t want to just be grateful for people, though. Jobs, photographs that capture amazing moments in my life, even personality traits that for so long I considered to be my weakness but turned out to be gifts I am grateful for. Seven days with three things to list each day — it wasn’t enough. It isn’t enough.
The last day of the challenge happened to fall on the day that the sale of the home I had raised my children in up to recently became finalized. When things changed and our family had to deal with divorce, though my family was still living in it, that home was no longer our family home. I sat down and thought about that house. About how grateful I was for all it gave us, about what it represented to my children, my friends, my ex and myself. That, as much as it was a house where things were built, it could also be looked at as the house where it all fell apart. However, as I had spent the past week focused on gratitude, all I was able to see was all the good. I wrote my last entry as my “thank you” to that house and posted it on Facebook.
Saying goodbye fills me with gratitude that overwhelms…. I am grateful for every laugh, kiss and tear. For every burnt meal and every successful one. For every baby shower, birthday party and bridal shower. For every holiday. Every contraction, sleepless night and first step. Every first day of school, lazy Saturday and rushed Monday morning. This home was good to us, and created great beauty. And I am grateful for that chapter in my life… Grateful for saying goodbye. Grateful for new beginnings. I’m just grateful.
Since I completed the challenge I have chosen to give myself a challenge. That each day, before I get out of bed I remind myself of a few things I am grateful for. Being aware of the many blessings in my life, I feel a little more peaceful as I go through my day. I wish it hadn’t taken a challenge on Facebook to remind me to be grateful, but if that’s what it took, then I am grateful.
I challenge you, reader, to think about the things that you are grateful for in your life. There’s no need to post them on Facebook, if that’s not your cup of tea. But just reflect on the things you appreciate. I promise you won’t regret it.