Thanks. noun. According to my desktop dictionary, “an expression or feeling of gratitude, another way to say ‘Thank you’.”
Today I am not feeling so thankful.
What was supposed to be my day off turned into a drive to the pool for water aerobics/drive home/drive to the pool for lessons/drive home/drive to dentist appointments in another town/drive home/drive to the pool for lessons/drive home/drive to church for Ultimate Frisbee/drive home for the last time at 9:45 p.m. day.
(Just so you know, that equals about 3 hours in the car. I live smack in the middle of all of the little towns around us so the closest one is ten minutes away. It’s highly inconvenient.)
I am an introvert who hoards her free time. A day off where I have to actually go somewhere is a personal disaster.
But I am not going to spend this post whining about my busy life, because that’s dumb and I can only vent for so long before even I get annoyed with myself. Everyone thinks their lives are busy. That’s pretty much just how we live.
I’m also not going to turn this into one of those “slow down and do less and enjoy life more” posts. Maybe I’m too Type A, but those just don’t do it for me. All of the things that I did today had to be done. Maybe playing Ultimate Frisbee wasn’t absolutely life or death, but I do have to attempt to be a fun person sometimes. (Is it pathetic that I have to actually work at that most days?) Anyways, it’s silly for me to point my finger at you and screech “Do less! Say no to things! Don’t overcommit!” I’m certainly no expert on that, and overcommitting wasn’t even my problem today.
So what am I going to do?
A while back, I read Ann Voskamp’s book One Thousand Gifts. (If you haven’t read that yet, get on it. There’s good stuff in there.) The message of the entire book can boil down into two words: give thanks. It’s what you should do instead of worrying or holding grudges or letting life sweep past too quickly. It’s a way to bring faith into the humdrum of real, in-the-trenches life. It’s how you can find the beautiful and lovely and shining and joyful even when things seems less than rosy. Other blogs and studies and smart people claim that finding the bright things is good for our happiness, too.
So, on a day when I really don’t want to go in to work tomorrow and when Les Miserables is bringing me down with its ridiculous length and we have no apples or any other suitable fruit in the house and it’s getting really late but I want to keep maximizing the itty-bitty slice of free time I have today…
I’m going to shut up and give thanks.
Here we go.
- Little hands clinging tight when doing scary stuff
- Successful deep-water adventures
- Actually using up all of the time in a Level 1 lesson
- Written releases of pent-up feeling
- Embarrassing, humbling, excessive sweat, the kind that soaks your shirt and drips down your face and reminds you that you really don’t look cute when you work out. (Is this getting too personal?)
- Gulping icy cold water
- Prayers spoken out loud
- Melty cheese
- Love and grace in spite of my numerous, prominent, crippling imperfections
- Anticipation of the arrival of online shopping orders
- Blogs that make me giggle (out loud, because I don’t censor my laughter when I find something funny. Ask my roommates who had to listen to me laugh uncontrollably while watching Friends for the first time or my family who asks what’s so funny every time I snicker.)
- Continuing to giggle until I start to cry (though that really doesn’t take too much)
- Midnight blueberry-lemon muffins and the sister who feeds us her baking experiments for the county fair. Although there might have been more unthankfulness if she hadn’t shared.
- Upcoming birthdays. I turn twenty in five days. And I even get a legit day off. This is big.
Seriously, people. The whole thankfulness thing actually works. I’m not glaring daggers at my family anymore. (Though that might be from the reading of funny blogs. Or the muffin. Okay, so this is not scientifically proven by me.) But it can’t hurt. And I think I need to do it more often.
So if you ever hear me griping about my pitiful life, please tell me to shut up and go write down good things. And I might get snappy with you. But then I’ll do it and feel better. And I’ll be even more thankful if you take me home and give me a blueberry-lemon muffin while you’re at it.