Posts Tagged ‘how to be grateful’

This morning I awoke to my wife’s warm back against my back, soft blankets over me, pillows all around me, my cat warm against the back of my legs and the sound of a central air unit heating my home. 

I give thanks! 

The simplest things are the best things and may bring us into a lucid state of robust and capacious tranquillity.

Everyday things like warm blankets create hygge, the centuries old Scandinavian concept of a moment of well being, a cozy, warm, special and charming essence. 

My sweet wife and I keep our home simple and uncluttered. We are aiming for hygge. We want to experience the essence of the simple and yet refined. 

Our hardwood hickory floors are to me the great forests of the world and I love their knots and their grain patterns and their woody imperfections too. Our granite countertops, the producets of great heat and pressure, swilled and chunked with quartz and feldspar and mica, these are our ancient cliffs and lovely mountain peaks. The many windows and glass doors in our home —  these invite in the sunshine, green trees, blue sky and evening sunsets.. 

This afternoon I walked into the family room. The light streamed through the blinds and pane windows, jalousied, glorious, lambent, splendid, divine!

I see the essence of each thing and am grateful. I want to drop into a state of allostasis, emotional stability, and be at peace with my world. I try. I move a little way in. I want to go deeper. I want to see and give thanks. 

I think of Martin Burber and his book I And Thou. Buber writes of  “I-It” relationships, it being an object or even idea that is separate in itself, which we either use or experience.

The flowering pear tree I see though my double-paned windows, what this it to me? It’s now in full bloom. It looks like a bride, decked in white. If I comprehend its essence, if I respect it’s being, if I sense its center of value it becomes to me an entheogen. Inviting me into the presence it becomes a Thou, it moves from it to you, and I enter into a reciprocal, enlarging relationship with it. I become a transparent eyeball absorbent and give thanks for all trees, all plants and all living things great and small, and we are I and Thou.

Too often the things around me are assumed by me, undervalued, under-noted, unrecognized. I see them merely as out-of-focus background.

But what I am longing for is to see things for what they are and to rejoice in them and be thankful for them.

Simple things create the Japanese sense of wabi sabi. Wabi” is  defined as “rustic simplicity” or “understated elegance” with a focus on a less-is-more mentality. “Sabi” is translated to “taking pleasure in the imperfect.”

The Japanese idea of Shibusa is similar. It is an enriched, subdued appearance of something, say a vase, or the experience of intrinsically fine quality in an object with economy of form, line, and effort, producing a timeless tranquility. 

We have many decorative vases in our home, some bursting over with dried flowers. We have placed vases in our home because they are grace and beauty, their lines form curves of tranquility.  We take in their je ne sais quoi and intuit their household salience, surd, voiceless, aphonic yet known. 

I am very thankful, but there is even more and even greater to be thankful for.

I sat with my wife this morning over hot coffees discussing the highlights of our marriage. Her pour-over coffee equipment, my espresso machine, our its that are also thou’s fueled us with the jolt that made us talk. We love our technology, how it dialogs with us, hissing and beeping and gurgling life-giving juice. In steaming coffee mugs there is hygge.

 I give thanks. 

And as we talked we entered into Buber’s I-Thou, an  “I” relating to a “Thou,” a sacred relationship with each other in which the other is not separated by discrete bounds.

My wife and I are two but we are One. Our experiences have merged. The boundaries between us have faded. Ant yet they haven’t, and yet they move closer than ever before. We have been through fire and rain and it has put us in each other more. 

I’m putting her first more often now, to honor her uniqueness and make it my own. She often thinks of me and puts me first and often thinks of others. She’s a problem solver. She bakes for others, finds books for them, recommends doctors for them, sews for them, helps them raise their  babies. To me she is a thou that leads me toward deeper relationships with other Thou’s. 

I am so thankful for her! I surge forward, seeking more thankfulness for her. I am her, and so I take care of her as I take care of myself. This comes from God! All good things come from God. For Martin Buber the ultimate thou was God. 

God is not an it but a Thou who created all the its and they reflect him and he made all the thous and they have value because his image, his Thou, is in them, and his purpose is to make them one and so I long for a relationship with all things great and small and with all people and with all of God, a dialogic, value-laden, knowledge-heavy intimacy — hygge and wabi sabi in all things. 

Oh world, you can be so savage and so horrible but at the same time you are so beautiful and so intimate and so present as essence, quintessence and incandescence of God. 

I have a new appetency for gratitude.

I long and press on with all of you as you all long with me, and we long together to be scandalously, shamelessly and infamously grateful. 

Gratitude lies in minutiae.

Yesterday, I dug a splinter out of my finger — better.

Yesterday, I painted the downstair’s bathroom, good. I ate chocolate covered peanuts and hired a plumber to fix a problem I couldn’t. Small holds the rank of swank. I also fed the cats. I consider everything as if it counts because it does.

In the evening, I was thankful for rock ballads, and spent time listening to “Always” by Bon Jovi, “Forever Love” by X Japan and “Wind of Change” by Scorpions.

The big picture is confusing to me. Is it to you? My daughter has some big decisions to make, but sometimes I think we only know that we made the right big decision, or were led, or had wisdom, when looking back. That’s fun!

Yesterday, I did the laundry and so today I have clean clothes. Cool! I knew I was doing the right thing when I did it, as we often do with the small stuff.

“Thank you.”

This morning I am relaxing, strenuously, with coffee. That is correct. Good!


“You are so kind!”

The smallest — it is the greatest, our mightiest moment, this quick and quarky nanosecond’s “is.”

God is a fabulous interior designer.

His color palate beauties the red dragonfly, decorates the yellow lantana, covers the blue sky and decks out your lovely freckled, tanish cheeks.

His scale is grand, yet intimate — the sun, a perfectly fine-tuned distance for life to thrive; the stars  beyond our grasp yet in our sight; your fingers, just the right length to hold in mine.

God sets the gold standard for art.

His rhythms are found in a billion blades of green grass, a billion blue waves on the shore, a thousand glowing, self-organizing sand dunes, the even measure of your ever-present breath.

His transitions — take sea, shore, sand and rocky cliff —  the sky! Your toes, you ankles, your knees and curving, lovely hips.

He is the master of the focal point — bright white moon, gold sun on clouds, tip of sugar pine, your gorgeous green eyes.

His balance is perfect, whorl of red rose, the even length of your tapered, tanned legs, the sparkling river, the white rapids, the black round-rocked shore.

He is great at line and form — the jut of your cute nose, the majestic summit of Everest, the rolling velds of South Africa, an Okapi’s hind legs.

Everyday we step out into an art circle tour.

Reality is the Louvre — times a billion.

We live and move and have our being within the ambit of his every morphing craft, his living, breathing, changing oeuvre.

I see it; I’m grateful.

“Say, “Thank you.'”

We have all been told or said that, or some variation of it, “You could a least say, ‘Thank you,'” or “Aren’t you going to say “Thank you?””

In modern American culture, such “Thank you’s” are protocol; they are our appreciation cliches. They are ubiquitous, often perfunctory.

Yesterday at the store the checkout my clerk thanked me for shopping at her store. I thanked her for serving me.

Verbal ettiquite is rote, a tote, a quick vote, but that’s okay. Our light-weight apprreciations are perhaps tributes to our aspirations for cultural nobility, perhaps small island-hops in our perpetual flight from selfishness.

But there is present in life a deeper gratefulness, a profonde gratitude, a heart-felt appreciation, which arises from within, which comes out of surprising places and has a substantial mooring in our souls.

Lately I have experienced deep gratitude.

I am at loss for words.

Repayment is impossible. The words “Thank you!” are in no way adequate. I have no eloquence for this, I have no thank you gift for this. I suffer gratitude paralysis; I can do nothing to properly say, “Thank you.”  I will never have anything that can adequately convey appropriate gratitude.

For what?

For God!

God has been so good to me and my family. He has approached us with such gentleness. He has lavished us with such love. And He has softly redeemed our personal brokenness, saved our self-inflicted and our others-inflicted lostness, gentled our unique brand of fragility.

You have no idea.

Many are offended by God, his allowance of suffering, his seeming distance from us in times of need, his standards, his judgments, his absence.

I am not. Certainly I get it. I too suffer over the many unexplained injustices of life, the horrible suffering, the mysteries of our failures and successes, and yet in God’s own way, in his own time, as he has seen fit, He has very uniquely proven his love for me lately, and for my family and my friends again and again and again.

Things have happened to work things out, to create new realities, to take care of old needs, to give us new peace, to bond us to each other and to others, to create hope.

I am dumbstruck. I have no gratitude cliches. This is very personal, between God and me, a very, very deep gratitude.



Ahhh …