Gratitude is the birthplace of joy.~Brené Brown
Ten years ago, while house-hunting on Thanksgiving weekend, I toured the house that would become my home. Two disparate things captivated me: the panoramic mountain view and the unique ceramic tile in the master bedroom with its indigo-and-linen pattern adorning the fireplace.
As I wake today from a rare Sunday afternoon nap, the low sun casts a golden spotlight through the open window onto those eclectic tiles that remind me (then, and every day since) of a warm, joy-filled vacation through Cinque Terre, Italy.
Much has transpired in those ten years: birthdays, holiday celebrations, graduation, empty nest, road trips, reunions, weddings, dear visitors, grief and loss, sleepless nights, tears, prayers. I strive to tuck each one into the cedar chest of life memories. Major events coexist alongside the innocuous beauty of brief moments: a gentle word, lingering sunsets, breathtaking sky, small blooms, tender glances, echoes of song and laughter, surprises, campfires, a first-year raspberry, juicy watermelon and faithfulness. Each one, observed, becomes a good and perfect gift, no matter how tiny, squirrelled away in a precious nook or safe cranny of memory's trove.
Treasures and sadness, light and dark, joy and mourning; these are not opposites, but complementary. I do not despise one for the sake of the opposite. One cannot exist without the other, not until eternity. I seek to embrace both extremes and all the various in-betweens, since we mostly live the greater fraction of our lives in the un-sensational middle-ground of Average.
For all of these gifts, and the mosaic they make of my life, may I be truly grateful. Amen.