January 15, 2014

I slipped and slid all over the road coming home from work last night, and was grateful when I was finally home safe and sound.  After hanging up my coat and giving my dog a hug (she's really hurt if she isn't properly greeted as soon as I step in the door!) I headed for the kitchen table.  Not for dinner but to add a small slip of paper to the mason jar on the table.  Do you remember the "gratitude jar" I wrote about a couple of weeks ago?  Well, it's filling up nicely, one day at a time, with all the little things I'm so very grateful for, including safe passage home at the end of a long day.  Some of the notes contain very, very big thank yous for answers to prayers for loved ones, and others are simple memories of something nice that happened during the day, but I'm finding it a meaningful way to remember this year, one special moment at a time and be thankful for this life of mine.

I love the vintage blue jar--it was a garage sale treasure when I was searching for just the right jars to hold gerbera daisies at my son's wedding rehearsal dinner, and I promised the woman selling her mother's collection of antique jars that I would take very, very good care of them.  The ribbon wrapped around the top came from a quilt store in New Hampshire--my purchase was carefully wrapped in this piece of fabric and it brings back good memories of the trip and my excitement of shopping at the store every time I look at it.  And of course the beautiful doily, loving crocheted by my mother, gives the jar a little elegance.  I think it will be nice next New Year's Eve to read the slips and remember so many moments--some special, some mundane, but all infused with gratitude and appreciation for this crazy life of mine.

The words just about sum it up, don't they?  "Perfect"--a description on the jar, but also a pretty nice way of looking at life.  We may have many imperfect moments (and days, and sometimes months!) but we have the gift of life and the ability to love and be loved, and at the end of the day, that's just about perfect, isn't it?


This is what life does. It lets you walk up to
the store to buy breakfast and the paper, on a
stiff knee. It lets you choose the way you have
your eggs, your coffee. Then it sits a fisherman
down beside you at the counter who says, Last night

the channel was full of starfish. And you wonder,
is this a message, finally, or just another day?

Life lets you take the dog for a walk down to the
pond, where whole generations of biological
processes are boiling beneath the mud. Reeds
speak to you of the natural world: they whisper,
they sing. And herons pass by. Are you old
enough to appreciate the moment? Too old?
There is movement beneath the water, but it
may be nothing. There may be nothing going on.

And then life suggests that you remember the
years you ran around, the years you developed
a shocking lifestyle, advocated careless abandon,
owned a chilly heart. Upon reflection, you are
genuinely surprised to find how quiet you have
become. And then life lets you go home to think
about all this. Which you do, for quite a long time.

Later, you wake up beside your old love, the one
who never had any conditions, the one who waited
you out. This is life's way of letting you know that
you are lucky. (It won't give you smart or brave,
so you'll have to settle for lucky.) Because you were born at a good time. Because you were able to listen when people spoke to you. Because you
stopped when you should have started again.

So life lets you have a sandwich, and pie for your
late night dessert. (Pie for the dog, as well.) And
then life sends you back to bed, to dreamland,
while outside, the starfish drift through the channel,
with smiles on their starry faces as they head
out to deep water, to the far and boundless sea.


  1. I am so lucky! And so grateful! :-)

  2. Love the poem. Gratitude is everything, I think!