Like other years, the blogosphere and Twitter are full of writings and reflections on the power of One Little Word. These words we choose, guide us through the upcoming year. And like other years, I’ve read through many of them to guide me in my choice. But this year is different. It is different on so many levels. While I loved reading the blog posts, many of which were very inspiring, none of them spoke directly to me. And that is OK.
Then this morning I woke up to a very cold house and spent my coffee sipping time watching Meryl Streep’s Golden Globe speech (http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/la-et-golden-globes-2017-live-watch-all-of-meryl-streep-s-1483932724-htmlstory.html). I was deeply moved by her class and courage. This is not an easy time to rise up and share the fears you have about the direction of our country. But I must say that her visit into my family room was very welcome. But I must also say that I had another visit from someone who is rather new to me, anxiety. Since our political system has been turned upside down by our new president elect and those he chooses to surround himself with, this unwelcome visitor has paid me many a visit in the past few months. The effects are noticeable, both physically and emotionally. Like many mornings of late I found myself thinking about my kids and the unknown future that lies ahead as I watched and listened to her. As I turned the computer off, which is something I have begun to do when this unwelcome visitor arrives, and worked my way to the shower I thought about how to rid myself of these thoughts before my day really begins.
As I stood in the shower I thought about the historical implications of all this. Of the many people all over the world who have had their lives turned upside down because of an unstable but cunning tyrant. I thought about photos I’ve seen of Middle Eastern countries during in the 1970’s and then again today. The contrasts are noticeable and unsettling to say the least. People who live in those beautiful countries had their lives suddenly turned upside down. This is the thought that I find the most stunning. The thought that unwittingly opens my heart to that unwelcome visitor. But this morning, while stuck at that thought, I was able to do something different. I stopped and realized how good the warm water felt in our cool morning home. I thought about the love of my husband as he slept in bed. I breathed. And breathed again. I felt a sense of some relief. So I continued. I intentionally thought about the everyday things I have and experience that I often take for granted. Wood for the wood-stove on these cold days and nights, healthy food in my cupboards and refrigerator, a job that I love, two beautiful and healthy kids who I love more than anything. And just like that my unwelcome visitor left me. For however fleeting, he left.
Gratitude. That is my One Little Word. The power of that word for me, for now, is what will guide me through this year. A year that I worry I will have so little power and control over. Gratitude will guide me to stop and appreciate all I do have and will guide me to realize that I have the power to continue, to move forward, to voice my beliefs no matter how they are accepted. I have control to choose kind in my family, with my neighbors, my friends, and at school with my kids and coworkers. That power I do have and no one can take that away from me. Gratitude will give me the voice, hope, and belief that things, no matter how rough they may be, will be ok because I am surrounded by beautiful, loving, wonderful people. With gratitude I will always notice them, the most important things in my life.
May your day and year be filled with gratitude.
PS – Once again, I am selfishly writing. Once again, it is political in nature rather than having a literacy focus. I just had to write. I had to write what was inside of me this morning as a way to try to capture my thoughts and feelings to make some sort of sense out of them. I will try to remember the relief that this brought to me and provide more opportunities for my kids to write just to get their ideas and feelings out. Maybe, just maybe, it will provide them some relief for them as well.