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Gratitude is Ordinary

November 27, 2010
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“Welcome Morning”

There is joy
in all:
in the hair I brush each morning,
in the Cannon towel, newly washed,
that I rub my body with each morning,
in the chapel of eggs I cook
each morning,
in the outcry from the kettle
that heats my coffee
each morning,
in the spoon and the chair
that cry “hello there, Anne”
each morning,
in the godhead of the table
that I set my silver, plate, cup upon
each morning.
All this is God,
right here in my pea-green house
each morning
and I mean,
though often forget,
to give thanks,
to faint down by the kitchen table
in a prayer of rejoicing
as the holy birds at the kitchen window
peck into their marriage of seeds.
So while I think of it,
let me paint a thank-you on my palm
for this God, this laughter of the morning,
lest it go unspoken.
The Joy that isn’t shared, I’ve heard,
dies young.
~ Anne Sexton ~
(The Awful Rowing Toward God)

It’s quiet.  The dishwasher is running.  The water swooshes around to a gentle, rhythmic hum.  From a speaker behind me, an album of softly spoken indie musicians quietly plays.  The lights in the kitchen are off.  The chandelier above the dining room table is no longer shining.  Food is put away, and my family and I are lying together on a couch with blankets that conveniently cover the size of our bellies.  My feet are propped up on the coffee table in front of me and I am content in my post-Thanksgiving lethargy.

There are many things to be thankful for tonight.  Many ways to count my blessings, my joys, my happiness.  There are dozens of things to consider as I look at my glass half-full.  As I consider this, I realize I am not thankful for the elaborate tonight.  I am not thinking of thankfulness with large literary words or an over-analyzed mentality.  My gratitude is ordinary tonight.  It is simple.  It is reflected in feet poking out from beneath blankets and the faint sound of a wick burning on top of a candle.  My gratitude is in a hand that squeezes mine while we say grace, a piece of pie baked with “Grandma’s love,” and the subtle way my body relaxes as my mother-in-law wraps her arms around me.

My gratitude is ordinary, which means it is not something to be found only on this one particular day set aside to give thanks.  It is attainable every other day too.  My gratitude, as Sexton wrote, is for “all this.”  And as I look around and notice “all this” that I have been given, I cannot help but celebrate that it is here with me, beside me, around me – everyday.  I hope my life can be a humble prayer of gratitude for “all this.”

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