Living Gratitude

by November 16, 2018

When you realize you’re not the only one… I surprised myself last night, being home alone this week, by remembering to take the trash out. Four very full and slightly too heavy cans, stuffed to the brim with the last four weeks of forgetting to do so, were dragged-carried to the curb. I was a little proud of myself. Still proud this morning, having woken up just in time for the sun to paint its way into the start of day, looked out the window to find all that trash strewn over the street by raccoons. And just when the sky was lighting up! How could they! So, in this perfect and bracing hour, I split my joy into cleaning up a sliver of the street. Every little scrap and bone, every bottle, every wrapper. Sticky finger and all, I stood for the reminder, then headed to wash my hands. Thanksgiving plans are set in my house. There will be a triptych of cooks, a smart kid to pair the wines, and two days of joy. Maybe an argument or two – three cooks in one kitchen? And plenty of cleaning to be done. Opportunity, as well, to remember to clear our own detritus: misunderstandings, unspoken affections, personal regrets, and that sticky residue of the times I just had to be right! We’re not alone in splitting our joy. Cleaning up the unloving things that were my choice is my responsibility when I can see it strewn over the last year, strewn over the memories of others. But I was right? But I didn’t know all the facts? But I was afraid of…? But I didn’t mean it that way? Living gratitude says it’s ok to have not been perfect, and it’s necessary to clean it up. Wash our hands, forgive ourselves for what we did not know at the time, and greet those who come with grace. It’s then we find that we are not and were not the only person in the room who can still choose better. Like this morning, a couple others had some toppled trash cans to clean up, too. –Jon Lothenore Nov. 16, 2018

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