Index of Gratitude

A friend of a friend lost her 16-year-old daughter yesterday in the blink of an eye. A car accident - and then, it was over. "Life changes in an instant," my friend said.

It does. It can. It's easy to say "carpe diem." It's easy to ask, "What am I grateful for?," and to list the obvious answers in return: My health. My family. My friends. Their health. Having a roof over my head, and food to eat. And I AM grateful for these things - but the list has become so rote, sometimes I don't FEEL it anymore. Does that make sense? 

Another friend shared a quote with me today -- a reference to our shared love of Allen Ginsberg. "Follow your inner moonlight; don't hide the madness," Ginsberg wrote.

Somehow, this call to arms for authenticity, combined with a desire to fill myself with deep and palpable gratitude, produced the following list.

Thank goodness for the moment you take off your bra at the end of the day. Thank goodness for the moment you take out your contacts. Thank goodness for the spontaneous kiss on the cheek that your toddler gives you while reading books together at bedtime, and for your dog's fluffy hair covering the bones of his backide that you feel against the side of your foot as you pet him with it absentmindedly while writing. Thank goodness for those moments when you make it through the muck to connect with another human being. Thank goodness for feelings of fullness and emptiness and the ability to know the difference. Thank goodness for those moments when poetry appears in you and all you need to do is sit down and let it be born. Thank goodness for new ideas that show you paths leading away from the well-worn grooves of your tired brain, like a tree in the jungle climbing toward sunlight. Thank goodness for phone calls and emails connecting you with friends who are far away and for breaking bread with friends who are nearby. Thank goodness for the ocean waves reassuring you that you are here. Thank goodness for silence and for noise. Thank goodness for the reassuring release of orgasm and thank goodness for hugs. Thank goodness for people who make art - no glory, just art. Thank goodness for the people who love you, warts and all, the ones who light up when you enter a room, who make you smile until your cheeks hurt, you floor you with their kindness, whose presence feels like a hug; thank goodness for the people who GET you, who help you see, who let you change. Thank goodness for the people who really take the time to listen to you. Thank goodness for you, for reading this. 

Thank goodness.

Thanks, too, to Rick on Flickr, who shared the photo above under a Creative Commons license.