Nov 23, 2006

Gratitude List


People in AA talk about having an "attitude of gratitude." used to bug the crap out of me, usually because it was preached by some low-bottom drunk gone sober, like the leather-faced ex-meth dealer, who parrotted AA catch phrases like they were oxygen. "One day at a time! If it ain't broke, don't fix it! God won't reveal what he cannot heal." And of course, "practice an attitude of gratitude!" Shut your cliché hole, would ya? But then I noticed, he was a lot happier than I. They were his oxygen, and he was a lot more rosy cheeked that I was.

I went through a turbulent time in which I lived 17 places in 24 months. Then I finally landed in a guest-house above a two-car garage. Two people can't move around in the kitchen at the same time. But it was mine, and I was home. I was so grateful for it.

My sponsor encouraged me to write a gratitude list every day. So I did. And know what? I started to feel grateful. I started to feel more happy and upbeat.

So I guess all those dorky AA catch phrases and bible proverbs work.
as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he
Whatever is good, whatever is true and right and beautiful, think about those things.
Have an attitude of gratitude.

I was grateful when Larry came along. We've even lived pretty well together in that little guest house. We're leaving it in a couple months, but we've been grateful for it.

But I haven't kept up on my gratitude list. And I've gotten a little pissy in places.

So now here we are at Thanksgiving. I's time to make a gratitude list.

I’m grateful for

Larry: for his open heart, goofy sense of humor, his openness and vulnerability. And his really cute hiney. Yeah that too. I love him because he loves God and hates religiosity. Because he's walked through spiritual crises and disillusionment, and got a better faith in the bargain. I love the fact that the things he cares about are writing and spiritual growth. I love that he surfs the net looking for ... NOT for stocks and politics and Playstatione, but Christianity Today and The Emergent blogs and social issues and writing. My sister put it well last night: "he's a perfect fit for you." He is.

Larry's family: his mom Joy; His sister Dianna, her husband Tony and their son Joe. I inherited a great second family.

My own family: Mother Marian, brothers Rob Jim, sister Nancy, her husband Phill Erickson, their four kids Matthew, Emily, Jonathan and Elisabeth. My cousins and aunts and uncles. We are all healthy and alive.

Friends: I have been blessed with so many great friendships over the years. Friends who live close by and friends far away. The few close friends who know me, ones I know through writing or church or the 12 steps. And the new friends I've inherited through Larry.

The list goes on and on. I know I'll forget some, but here's a start: Mim Abbey, Sibyl Gardner, Christopher Myers, Matthew Corozine. Meredith Stephenson, Kim and Brian Godawa, Michael and Rebecca Corwin. Terrie Silverman, Mary and Jeff Cellers, Cameron Taylor, Jeannie Gaffigan and Tony Hale and Todd Wilkerson. Bonnie Eslinger, Aimee Umidi, Anna Hansen. My friend Carole Kealoha and I have known each other since 1985. I recently started going to study and write at the library she works at, and it's been so wonderful just to reconnect with her and go get coffee and talk. I'm so grateful just to be able to see her again and hang out.

And there are my friends who we used to live in the same city, these friends were such an inextricable part of my life. But now they live in other cities, and we don't get to talk regularly. But when we do, we pick up where we left off and it's like there was no time or distance between us. When I hang up the phone I feel a profound sadness, because I wish they lived next door.

And I get this overwhelming longing for us all to be together, and I decide that heaven must be just like that: a place where we are all doing our art or our lives, but together. And I decide that heaven must be a row of brownstones on the Upper West Side, with a media lab in the basement, meeting rooms on the ground floor with cushy chairs and an undending supply of good coffee and PG Tips tea, and our own apartments above. With Central Park on one end of the block, and the Rockies on the other.

1 comment:

Lynda said...

Nice picture of heaven, Susan. Then I can say I've lived in NY.

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