Sunday, May 6, 2012

Gratitude


I am grateful this evening as I look back on this day of the 2012 Mountain Goat ten-mile run. This post is little more than a list, but a gratitude list is worth as much as anything I can write. These are the things I'm grateful for today:

That my body can carry me ten miles up and down hills across Syracuse,
that the sun shine was so beautiful and the skies were so blue,
that three thousand other people from our area were out on that course,
and that so many thousand others came out to cheer us all on.

I'm grateful that I did the run with ten of my good friends,
and saw so many other friends there before, during, and after.
That so many other friends have asked, "how'd it go?"

I'm grateful that my family makes it possible for me to go and do things like this,
that they support me when I do and are proud of me for my accomplishments.

I am grateful that I'm not feeling that sore, just tired and accomplished.
I'm happy and ready to run some more, though maybe not tonight.

I'm grateful that my daughters have spent the day in the sunshine,
inventing games, playing with friends, riding bicycles,
instead of playing video games, watching television, or surfing the web.
I'm grateful that they have both taken time to read books
and that no one asked them to do so; they just wanted to.

I'm grateful that my wife is sitting beside me,
that she is trying to find some new recipes for our dinners,
that she understands my being tired tonight and is taking on most of the work.
I'm so grateful to feel her love even in ordinary moments such as these.

I'm grateful to have this family.

I'm grateful that our dog doesn't run out into the street, even if a dog is going by,
even if there is raw meat lying out there, even if our daughters run across.
I'm grateful that she can't get enough of our love.

Okay, that's enough listing for a moment. Let's talk.

Gratitude is a powerful force that I have long ignored or discounted. Today, I got to run almost the whole ten miles with my friend Karen who works hard to run as well as she does. Throughout the run, rather than pushing the clock or trying to beat someone on the course, the two of us competed with the pavement, with our bodies, and we found that there was enough there to draw on. I can't speak for her, but my run today was one that left me feeling healthy, happy, and possibly even wise. Karen and I talked through most of the run, laughed a lot, and depended on each other. It's nice to chase personal records, but having the race we had today was exactly what I had hoped for.

Gratitude also can take care of things. Last night, I couldn't sleep. I was keyed up about the race. I got out of bed at midnight and stayed up until two watching a movie, trying to feel tired. After that, I went to bed and was awake until about quarter to three, wondering about the race. I knew that I would be able to run it, even if I hadn't fallen asleep at all last night. And I took the time, right around two-thirty to feel grateful for that. Funny thing: shortly thereafter, I was asleep.

Other things are tougher to feel grateful for. My parents are desperately searching for a new home and are living with my brother. Their tension is palpable and difficult to bear. My mother especially has trouble feeling that there is much of anything good going on in her world as she struggles with the fact that she doesn't have a home of her own in which to feel safe and secure. Today, they came for dinner, and it was a struggle for me to stay composed and within myself instead of judging and complaining about how she can be. It's not fair that I want to complain and that's frustrating too, but then I think about it tonight, considering it from the side of gratitude and I know that I'm happy to have them near, to be able to experience some of this with them, and to try to come to know my mother better.

I'm feeling good tonight. I'm grateful for so many things. My friends, my family, my self, the world I live in. All of it gives me courage to write on.