98) The Verizon worker who called me last night to tell me H. was ok and just stuck in traffic.
99) A world covered with a coating of confectioner’s sugar snow.
100) Watching Ruth experience snow for the first time.
101) Sledding with all three kids.
102) Washing machine repairmen.
103) A washing machine.
104) Clean laundry.
105) Phone and Internet.
106) Amazingly good Ghirardelli brownies.
Last night H. took 4 hours to drive home from work (a normal 15 minute commute). He didn’t have a cell phone to call me. At about 2 hours past the time I expected him I was freaking out. Rationally I knew that his route isn’t on deserted roads and that even if he was stuck, he could have easily gotten help. I knew that the traffic was awful due to the storm and that he was likely ok. But I was still freaking out.
I was at the computer thinking about my gratitude post for the day. And I thought to myself “I’ll be thankful when he walks in the house.”
And then I thought, really? Is that really what I am saying to God? I can only be grateful IF. I told myself that the whole point of focusing on gratitude is to make it a discipline. To do it when I don’t feel grateful. When I feel worried. When I feel tired. When I’m freaking out.
So I sat down and made myself write something.
I obviously didn’t have to find out how I would have responded if the worst had happened.
Unimaginable. And yet I imagine. That I probably would have indeed felt that there was nothing to be grateful for again.
Until I saw Ruth’s face. Or felt David’s hand in mine. Or heard John’s voice telling me a story.
I imagine it would have taken longer to be grateful for the ordinary blessings of life. But I hope I would have gotten there eventually.
It seems somewhat silly (and indicative of how spoiled I truly am) to write about a spiritual crisis that in the end didn’t even really exist. I am no Job. I am blessed beyond belief and still I take those blessings for granted.
I don’t think it was an accident that about 15 minutes after I wrote my gratitude post I was nursing Ruth and the phone rang. H. had jumped out of his car and asked a stranger in a nearby car to call me to let me know he was ok and just stuck in terrible traffic. (He doesn’t have a cell phone. He’s getting one.) Relief flooded through me as I finally let the tears come a bit. I rocked Ruth, put her in the crib and tucked her in. I stopped by the boys’ room and tucked them in. Then I went out to shovel our driveway so H. would have somewhere to park when he did get home.
As I shoveled in the quiet stillness of snow with my face wet from the flakes, I thought about gratitude. I thought about how the point is to give it with open hands. It’s not an IF. It’s BECAUSE. Because He is God. Because He is good. Because He is.
107) For lessons gently taught.