Finding Gratitude in the Right Now

Gratitude , The Tall Ships' Races, Szczecin 2007

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Over the past several months we have hosted a number of house guests on the “extended stay” plan.

In addition to the opportunity to spend time with people I care about, or to become better acquainted with some I didn’t know I cared about, the experience has helped me recognize that something important has changed in me.

There was a time when I might have viewed the seemingly endless parade as an imposition.  After all, the “important stuff” in my life guaranteed that I was “just too busy.”   Large blocks of time spent preparing for, focused on or cleaning up after motley crews of families, friends and dogs might have interfered with the important tasks of my important life.

Please don’t misunderstand.  It wasn’t that I didn’t like them, or want the company.   I thought it would be great. Just “not right now.”

Time moves.  People change.  On one of the many occasions that I found myself driving a crew of us to a diner for lunch I laughed and said out loud, “You know, I haven’t had house guests in years, but this is great.”

The best part? Really meaning it. 

Always curious, I wondered what was so great about it.  What had changed?  I thought back to my preparations — buying groceries, making the beds, and putting cut garden flowers in every room.  My significant other smiled and I did, too.   I now know what was so amazing for me—I was grateful to be busy, I was grateful for the activity, the noise, the “busy-ness” of the days.  Like everything I do (or do not do) opening my home has become a choice rather than an imposition or obligation.

And I recognized, too, how choice allows me to see the world with new and improved eyes. Even the gray skies and rain that didn’t seem to end during one guest’s visit, held promise.

A choice to be grateful. To be in the world, to have friends, love, happy dogs, fresh flowers. To smell the fragrance of rain. The promise of tomorrow. To smile. To speak and to be heard. To have this day. To be.  To be fully present.

Right now.

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