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When to be Grateful

 

 

 

 

Gratitude.

 

Practicing it is all the rage these days. We are told to be mindful in our practice. And I have been, really, but gratitude differs from person to person.

 

Recently, I was working in magazines that Amy, at Allure Salon in Kalamazoo, saves for me. These magazines serve as a base for one of my sessions. I am grateful for “these ready to be thrown away” magazines. Grateful for the trash mags. They make my work easier.

 

Today elbows deep  in an O Magazine , I couldn’t help but be a little envious of Oprah. What would it be like to have it all and tell other people to be grateful?

 

I mean, come on. Oprah doesn’t have to be telling people anything, She has billions.

Why do you bother with us little peons, O?

 

Everyone knows her story. She came from abuse and poverty. She was good enough at her job to be noticed and after that, like a railroad car headed downhill full tilt, her career just exploded.

 

Who wouldn’t be grateful? She was in movies, television, writing books, sponsoring schools, giving away money….There aren’t enough days in the year to cover all that Oprah can be grateful for.

 

Gratitude must make you feel good. It must make you take stock in all that you have, materially and spiritually. Maybe this is the validation that Oprah needs. It sure is something to aspire to someday. But how often does this kind of fame and fortune  happen for someone?

 

Don’t get me wrong. I know Oprah is only human. She has flaws and problems just like regular people. She has to take showers, use deodorant, walk and feed her dogs, sleep, eat the right foods, and buy sensible shoes. She doesn’t have perfect vision and even though she has seemingly hundreds of pairs of glasses, they can be bothersome at times. This is human stuff.

 

The other day, as I was driving through Cass and Van Buren County. I was grateful to see corn in fields and green beautiful countryside. I know it’s been dry here but I also know we don’t have the problems the West is facing with wildfires. I saw vineyards and rolling hills of fruit trees. Michigan can be beautiful this time of year.

 

One thing stood out on that ride. I went by a rusted, beat up looking trailer. I almost wasn’t sure if someone was even living there. It had vines and overgrowth covering it. Wood pieces, gray with time, covered the windows.

 

There was a short gravel drive and in it, a boy of about ten, was shooting a flat basketball into a naked hoop.

The picture has stayed with me, turning over and over in my mind.

 

Looking at the place, I couldn’t help but wonder, is that boy grateful?

 

Where does he set the bar for his happiness?

 

Is it the extra hour of waning summer sunlight? Is it a place out of the rain on stormy days? Do wild berries grow among the brambles that cover his home? Food on the table? A table at all?

 

Among abundance we often find need. It is striking and can make us uncomfortable to see.

 

How does he set the bar for something he cannot see?

How does he reach for something he has never seen?

Gratitude.

It’s something to think about big or small..

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