by Kimberly M. Thompson

Today I woke up freed from all imposing thoughts. My mind so open it was reminiscent of a clean page from a new notebook. But not empty. A wave of calm accompanied this feeling as I went about my day to day. I'm slowly walking to my destination on this light, breezy, pre-dawn fall morning. I realize, today, as I mentally express my verbal spillage there is...

no worries about this job
no worries about my children or their children
no worries about my mother or my friends

You know what? I'm grateful. It's not often when you can walk in openness. Free of discontent, if only for a little while. I look into the sky as I walk my last twenty or thirty feet before going inside. Dawn is breaking through the darkness. In this breaking of light, there are streaks of pinks and purples and oranges through and in between large areas of dark blue.

I then notice what seems to be a sheer overlay of see through but individual clouds placed directly in front of these magnificent colored streaks. Clouds not yet white but still gray and purple. They're being pushed by this wonderful, light fall breeze. The horizon stands its ground and brightens as the clouds are speeding by to the left like rush hour traffic on an expressway. All I could do was stand there for I don’t know how long in awe of this surreal vision. Random thoughts began to bounce around in my head as I settled into my classroom reveling in the early moments of silence. My work day begins at 6:30 a.m. So I get to appreciate the panoramas and symphonies of pre-dawn to daybreak. We always say we’re thankful for our health, home, job, food and family. But that's commonplace, let us truly be thankful that we can say, “Therefore by Grace we are able. Because it could have been….”

As I’m sitting at my desk I begin to gather moments that cause me to take pause. The very simple things I'm grateful for now come to light. A child's wonder when he sees a ladybug and isn't afraid to let it crawl on his hand. Or to see a four year old who’s just starting to experience his or her own self reliance nurture and comfort a three year old who’s not there yet. That's a precious sight in this world today. The proud and bubbling excitement of their accomplishments and all they ask is be acknowledged. The birds song first thing in the morning. Dew drops on flowers. And my cat looking at me when I wake up, saying good morning with her eyes, then turning her back to me as if she’s dismissed me.

Then you have those Big Gratitude Moments. Mine in particular is my favorite yearly vacation at the beach with my three sister/friends. A retreat we've made a ritual for more than twelve years. I mean really, how often can four very different women live together for a full week without any discrepancies. We thrive by our separateness in togetherness. Every morning while everyone is still sleeping; I get dressed quietly and walk down to the beach as the sun is rising. I go right down to the surf and begin my daily walk. For some reason I always go to the right. I question that regularly. But never change. I speak to God first. "Good Morning and Thank You! "Then I acknowledge my people. The ones I consider my guardian angels now. My grandparents, my father and my grandson. He only lived from one Sabbath to the next. I imagine him sitting in my father’s lap.

This year I must add one of my best friends. She's been with me since my teenage years. Losing her long hard battle with cancer shook me to my core. After all these acknowledgments I press on and just absorb the wonder and amazement of God's work while I walk.

Then there's my own private little gift I’m given me each time I take this walk. The sandpipers on the beach. I love them. They are so amazingly funny. Just ahead of me I see them as they race down to the surf's edge and stick their beaks into the sand to catch the miniature baby clams that wash up on the shore. But the baby clams instinctively know that those sandpipers are after them, so they bury themselves into the wet sand. And as the sandpipers try to dig and catch them, they also have to race against time before the next wave of surf come back up to the beach. Those sandpipers little legs do double and triple time trying not to get caught in the next wave. They do this continually. It's like my own little cartoon and that's my show for the morning. I not only smile but sometimes I even laugh out loud to myself. They make me happy. As matter of fact, I'm smiling right now as I'm telling this very special part of this story.

I continue this walk until I get tired and return to the house. Everyone is just starting to rise and we sit, drink coffee and laugh. Then decide what we're going to do for the day.

Some people will never experience the closeness, the sharing and love of sister/friends like these. I'm so grateful for them and don't know what I'd do without them. I know we don't make much time to acknowledge and study what we're grateful for. Life keeps us so busy that most of the time we're on automatic. But every now and then you need to stop….Look to the sky as dawn is breaking. Experience the awakening of the day with those streaks of magnificent colors and clouds. And with your head held high say, “Thank You! I'm So Grateful I'm Here."

Gratitude by Kimberly M. Thompson

© Copyright 2008. All rights reserved. No portion of this work may be duplicated or copied without the expressed written consent of the author.

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