Much of my focus lately has been teaching myself to be grateful. Gratitude is a never-ending lesson. There is so much to appreciate around us, yet it seems to get lost in the desires of something new. Autumn is a wonderful time to work on this lesson. The air is crisper, the world is full of color, the trees are full of their fruitful bounty, and of course there is football. But fall offers us a great perspective on the lesson of gratitude, because fall doesn’t last very long, and very frequently it is gone before we take the time to truly appreciate it.
Take the time today to soak in the glory that is your world around you. Excite your senses by seeking out and noticing the many stimuli around. Stop and smell your world. Do you remember what crushed dried leaves smell like? What does that remind you of? Have you listened to the cooler nights? Or observed the wind conducting its symphony with the trees and leaves? Have you appreciated the brisk morning air as it fills your lungs? When was the last time you laid down in the grass, listened to the sounds around you and watched the clouds?
My son still reminds me to take pleasure in the little things. Often on a hurried morning as I try to get him off to school (his daycare) he sees the sun and says “good morning sun. Boy you are awfully bright this morning. Thanks for being warm and bright.” It stops me cold and makes me grateful for the lessons he has learned and now teaches me. It makes me slow down and seek the many blessings I was missing.
The other morning it wasn’t Jackson that gave me my reminder it was the boy across the street. He said “hi”. Actually he said “hi” about 4 times until I stopped what I was doing and acknowledged him. Then he said very matter-of-factly, “clouds”. I replied, “yeah look, clouds” and I went on to get into my car. He then yelled and pointed, “clouds!” I paused for a minute and looked up. I saw clouds. I was preoccupied with getting in my car. I was thinking about the order I was going to run my errands. After I got Jackson buckled in his seat, I looked over at the boy. He was fixated on the sky. I took a minute and looked to the sky with him. They weren’t just clouds, they were beautiful. There were 3 different types of clouds. There were birds flying with the clouds as a backdrop. As I took 20 seconds to soak up what was so captivating to this boy, I again received my reminder to see the blessings around. Then I knew I had done it right, because the boy across the street began yelling and clapping his hands, “Clouds! Clouds!” He looked over to me and smiled as he kept clapping.
In this day and age of constant contact and 24 hour media coverage, don’t lose sight of the small things. The smiles. The sound of nature. Watch a child. Watch their interest in the little things. Let it remind you to be grateful for all those little things. Look around and count your blessings. Take the time to say thank you for all those blessings.