It’s that time for Thankful Thursday again! Are you excited? Because I’m excited! I connected with Rox Nicholl through the wonderful world of blogging and I think she’s just a lovely soul. I really enjoyed this post, especially the connection she draws between more joy and less judgment. This post reminded me that being thankful for one small thing can be powerful in itself. What one small thing are you thankful for today?
It was going to be brilliant. Brilliant, I tell you. Sparkly, witty, thought-provoking and funny, and all wrapped up with a glittery bow that would leave a smile on your face. Brilliant. And by “it”, I am referring to this particular guest post. I had been thinking about it for two weeks, without the opportunity to put a thought down (Little Person was on holiday, so there simply was no space to do anything except look after her and make sure the house didn’t explode). Thankfulness. Find the joy, lose the judgement. It was going to be brilliant.
And then I fell ill. My throat turned into some red, raw monster of slime. Food turned to glass as soon as I tried to swallow. For a week, it was all I could do to fetch Little Person from school and hide under a blanket on the sofa while I watched her play. Thankfulness? What thankfulness? Joy? What joy?
But here’s the thing. I have been learning about thankfulness – specifically how true thankfulness comes from a place of joy. And joy cannot occupy the same space as judgement. I hadn’t been aiming to find joy, I had been aiming to lose the judgement. Specifically, I’d been trying to learn to stop myself from saying all sorts of nasty things about the people driving the cars I share the roads with on a regular basis. So instead of “look at that idiot driving so dangerously”, I was trying “that driver seems to be in a rush. I hope that he isn’t late for his meeting.” After a little effort, I began to notice people that were driving well, and I noticed I was a more relaxed driver too.
So I decided on a wider application. Finding the joy in the every day. Daffodils bobbing on the wind. Little Person’s smile when I picked her up from school. The Dude taking care of the entire bedtime routine, even though he had been at work the whole day. A freezer full of food that could just be slapped in the oven at a moment’s notice (got to love fish fingers and chips). A friend who dropped by with a portion of (homemade!) soup to soothe my throat and then skedaddled off so I could rest. Maybe not a thousand things to be grateful for, but sometimes, real appreciation for two or three small things means so much more.
So even though I wasn’t overwhelmed with joy and thankfulness as the germs were doing battle for my body (status report: the body has fought back and is currently launching an offensive that should see us to victory), I was more thankful than I had ever had reason to think I would be. So often, when I am ill and I am laid low, guilt follows on the heels of pain. I haven’t done the laundry. I’m not cooking good enough food. I’m leaving The Dude to do all the work, and abandoning Little Person in front of the television. Bad mother. Bad wife. Bad person. (Am I the only one to do this to myself, as though it’s not enough to feel bad physically, I have to feel bad mentally too?) But not this time. This time, it was alright for me to not do these things. I could just rest and trust The Dude to take care of it. Not brilliant, but good enough.
It’s so easy to think of thankfulness as this big, bright gem of a thing, something grand to aspire to. It’s so easy to think that we have to be thankful for everything, and find big profound lessons to be grateful for within every life experience. But maybe gratitude is just an attitude that says, I’m going to notice the smallest tiniest thing that can give me joy, and be thankful for that.
Maybe it’s the joy that makes it brilliant, after all.
About the Author:
I blog about the lessons I find in the every day – being a wife to The Dude, mother to Little Person, a stranger in a strange land (I’m a South African living in North East England, which is the bit you never hear about), pretending to own a cat. When I’m not writing, I’m thinking about writing, or doing crochet. Or avoiding the laundry pile. My current Secret Project is a novel that addresses the question of what happens when faith and fear collide. You can find me at www.roxnicholl.wordpress.com or follow me @roxnicholl (Twitter/Instagram)