gratitude-a-thon day 2062: use a magnifying glass if you have to

I lost a glove last week. And it made me cry. Uh huh, in the Whole Foods parking lot.

It wasn’t even a glove I liked. The fit was a little wonky and I’m not a big Michael Kors fan and they had his silly logo. But the loss took me.

Maybe it’s because I lost a first cousin a few weeks ago, and I’m losing my 14 year old dog a little more every day and the loss I am seeing in Ukraine makes my heart feel like it’s been set on fire, Maybe it’s because of all the loss that Covid has wreaked on us since March 2020. Maybe it’s because winter in Boston is doing it’s usual thing–boasting hopeful temperatures, one day and the very next day turning on the snow. And well, I’m not even going to bring up what the M. Night Shamalan-type horror the climate report that recently came out has had on my system.

I think a lot about gratitude when things feel overwhelmingly gray. Even though when you’re not feeling great, it feels like the last thing you want to do–see where the light shines in. But it’s exactly what can help.

It’s pretty easy to look at images of people, who are just like you and me and your neighbor, and watch them lose their families, their homes, and their hope during a senseless war and think about how grateful you are to have all you have in your life. That’s kind of a no-brainer gratitude, but good nonetheless, it’s still noticing what you have and that reaps you benefits. But how about pushing a bit further. How about we look at all the people who are helping Ukranians. How about Jose Andres and The World Kitchen feeding those with nothing. How about the Polish women who left a bunch of strollers near the border crossing for new mom’s with babies in their arms. How about President Volodymyr Zelensky, who has no real experience in politics and has become an absolute hero to his country and the world.

Stollers left at the Polish border. A mother’s love on display. A picture of hope.

I feel a gratitude deep, deep down in for all the big and small stories of people helping to make an unspeakably awful situation better. It is the acknowledgement of this kindness and humanity that keeps me going in the face of such raw and inhuman actions. Focusing on the good in people vs the bad in people is a way to get ourselves through the horror, and a way for us to do whatever it is we can do to help others, in Ukraine, here in the US, or just on the block where you live.

See, that’s the way gratitude can make us better. We notice, we stand at attention honoring those who are the helpers, the doers, the game changers. And we bow in grace.

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