Every once in a while I have to pause . . . I have to slow down . . . I have to breathe deeply. Every once in a while I have to close my eyes to the world’s many injustices before they consume my spirit and close my ears to all the negativity surrounding me before it steals my very soul.
And every once in a while I have to remind myself to be joyous and grateful. I wish I didn’t need such reminders–I wish pulses of profound joy were always coursing through the inner workings of my heart, and I wish expressions of gratitude were always leaping instinctively from my lips. That is as it should be–but that is not how it is. Despite my periodic, stubborn attempts to prove otherwise, I have no superhuman powers, and my oh-so-human frailties–every once in a while–get the better of me.
But not this morning . . . at least, not for these brief, quiet moments before the sun rises and the day’s worries come knocking on my door. Before then, let me reflect and give thanks for all that is beautiful and right and good in my life.
This Morning’s Sunshine List:
- loving my little seventh graders who have yet to realize that talking to the principal in the hallway and waving to her from the bus window isn’t cool–and loving even more those few older students who know it isn’t cool but have enough self-confidence to do it anyway.
- sleeping under an open window and awakening in the middle of the night to the howl of coyotes in the stillness of a full moon.
- being asked my opinion and knowing that it was valued.
- remembering to pay my electric bill the day before it is due instead of the day after (and incurring a frustrating fine).
- arriving home at the end of a long day and finding a box from Barnes and Noble waiting on my doorstep.
- trying a new recipe and realizing after the first, mouth-watering bite that it will become a frequent addition to my cooking repertoire.
- being dazzled by burnished reds and golds glinting in the afternoon sun.
- listening to the roar of tree frogs at sundown.
- munching on almonds coated in dark chocolate and knowing their crunchy sweetness is good for me.
- being introduced to the poetry of Pablo Neruda by a friend and having sleeping passions awakened by its radiant imagery and intense challenges.
- shopping for smaller sizes . . . and smaller still.
- knowing that, despite occasional outward appearances and actions seemingly to the contrary, I am a kind person with a giving heart.
- slipping an age-softened sweatshirt over my head and feeling its warm coziness enveloping me.
- spotting the season’s first tarantulas skittering across the highway and wondering where they have been and where they are going.
- remembering a snippet of conversation that made me laugh in delight–and then laughing once more at the memory.
- painting ten little fingernails and ten little toenails without a single, smudgy do-over.
- inhaling the spicy aroma of the season’s first pot of chili simmering on the stove.
- enjoying the company of teachers who show up in my office at the end of the day with no other purpose than to make me smile.
- getting a massage so relaxing, so gloriously mind-numbing that I doze off in the middle of it.
- knowing that the people who really, really annoy me are few in number (and are usually loud enough that I can hear them coming in time to dodge their approach).
- believing in the promise of friends I have yet to meet in places I have yet to visit.
- soaking in a whirlpool until my aching muscles are pounded into wobbly submission and then sinking chin-deep into fragrant bubbles that dissolve all my cares.
- realizing that the people in my inner circles will usually forgive me for my random, maddening bouts of insecurity and uncertainty.
- sleeping until the alarm sounds (such a rare occurrence).
- having three sons who are so talented and creative and brilliant that I am often in awe of their abilities (and so incredibly proud).
- attending a local fall festival just for the pleasure of re-uniting with former students.
- roasting hot dogs on a sharpened stick over a blazing bonfire.
- spending an entire weekend cleaning house–and still enjoying its relative cleanliness several days later.
- experiencing the exhilaration of a physical challenge met and exceeded when such a task seemed impossible only weeks before.
I have more–so much more–goodness and beauty and joy in my life, but just for today, if I can remember to be grateful for these few simple pleasures, I can be content. And, just for today, I can be happy. Maybe–just maybe–I can share a little of that happiness with those around me. My sunshine and I are knocking on your door (and we know you’re in there!)–will you let us in?
What is on your Sunshine List today?