It seems life is a collection of great memories, friendships and lessons. It’s also a collection of ailments and pills as people march toward death. Yes, time keeps on slipping, slipping, slipping… nudging away my youth while hoary strands keep pushing through more hair follicles. Even while thinking about what I would change about my life if I could re-live the past 10 years, I’m still so grateful to have decent health. Even with prescriptions and supplement orders through the years, I’m grateful for decent health. I walk. I talk. I laugh. I love. I live. And I appreciate it all.
It takes 21 days to cement a habit, so I’m deciding to try a new one: The habit of gratefulness.
Every day someone gets shot, stabbed, raped, killed or hurt in some other way. Some perverted cad takes inappropriate liberties with a minor; some jealous person hurts an ex-girlfriend or boyfriend… then commits suicide. Sometimes folks find out the arrangement with a sex buddy isn’t as exclusive as he or she thinks it should be—so the person somehow threatens the “wayward” buddy… and catches a case.
It gets overwhelming at times, but I refuse to get salty. I don’t want to forget life’s niceties: family, friends, and simple pleasures like memories of warm sunshine on my face spiked with the perfect breeze, which can create a perfect temperature. Other niceties include hearty laughter after a witty joke shared with friends, and outdoor concerts with music I really vibe with down to my bones. Observing smiley parents and carefree children frolicking with newly twisted balloon animals, and having conversation with folks who ooze kindness complete that experience.
There’s so much bad news everywhere, but I’m determined to maintain a grateful attitude no matter what I hear, read, or see every day.
It isn’t always easy.
To stave off and eliminate encroaching cynicism, I decided to undertake the gratitude challenge. I don’t even know where I got this idea. It was probably from a mixture of places: random inspirational readings, Facebook posts, and the constant back-of-mind reinforcement from my childhood (I went to church almost EVERY week growing up). During those early years, I learned that gratitude is key to the Christian life, and later learned it’s woven throughout other viewpoints as well. I don’t recall if I read a social media challenge somewhere that encouraged folks to find one thing to be grateful for daily, and I decided to write three—or if I encountered a challenge that encouraged folks to jot down three things for 21 days to inspire the habit of choosing happiness.
Whatever the case, I started writing three a day in October. It was my intent to only write three things for 21 days, but I’m still going with this. Must be a habit.
Anyway, these humble entries represent some of my self-reminders to stay grateful, to cherish the simple things, to know there’s something to be grateful for at all times.
Might as well start on Thanksgiving.
Person: Austin Boyd
Thing: Book—Nobody’s Child
Place: West Virginia
Idea: Austin Boyd explores the complicated possibilities that could stem from human seed donations, when a single, pregnant attorney in this story, seeks out her egg donor when she learns she has a life-threatening medical condition. Plenty of drama in this easy-to-read bioethics suspense novel.
Met up with a mentor figure yesterday after five years of social media sightings, which makes it very easy to think you are up to date with someone, but aren’t–totally. Yes, the general details are there, put there’s nothing like face to face contact to fill in a few gaps.
It was an interesting conversation–part catchup, part live tweet he was involved with for the #NPRBlacksinTech Twitter thread, found here:
My handle for this chat was @planetnoun. Continue reading Storify: Learning, growing for life
This week’s book is by Steve Pemberton, who is a Divisional Vice-President and Chief Diversity Officer for Walgreens. This book is the sometimes sorrowful, downright upsetting, but an inspiring story of Pemberton’s journey from a pretty whack situation. The book: A Chance in the World.
From the title, you would think he had one or two chances, but according to a babysitter during Steve’s toddler years, Steve had the absolutely no chance. He was also abused, misunderstood and undervalued by more than one foster family.
A lingering question in young Steve’s mind was always “Where did I come from? Where are my mother and father?” He picked up on unintentional clues from his foster family—and this bookworm turned into a sleuth to gather more information about his Dad from local newspapers at the public library.
He also had encounters with those acquainted with his father. And he met his mother’s relatives, as well as siblings he didn’t know before.
This boy—now man—who was stamped with a prediction of failure—survived abuse, learned to love reading, graduated college, learned about his parental history, connected with his family—even though this was somewhat painful—but he also found career success, and married—creating a family of his own.
Obviously that babysitter’s prediction was wrong. His circumstances might have sapped one with weaker resolve. But Steve Pemberton carved a chance out of thin air it seems. And Pemberton reserves thanks to God—for his chance in the world.
Another highly recommended read! I like this book because it shows—even if life hands a person trash—they can choose to transform it into treasure—with a glass of lemonade!
The main idea is pretty clear in the title. Heather Kopp is a Christian. And she was a straight up drunk. The book opens with her waking up in the guest room of her home—when she guesses why she spent the night there—again. Yup—she was wasted the night before. From the preface, she admits she didn’t even have a inkling that the end of her days drunken-dom (yes I just made up a word) were before her—but she writes:
“So instead, God comes to us disguised as our life, wooing is through our misery toward surrender.
At least, that was how it was for me.”
And from the moment she had a near out-of-town-shopping meltdown trying to lay her hands on some booze to slip in her purse in order to get her through a long evening—only to discover the beers she finally scored were too huge for her purse. So she dashed to a Sears, purchased a whopping purse with which she would carry her liquid sanity. But it wasn’t sanity. From this point, she was on her way there—with sobriety at the finish line.
Sober Mercies is hilarious. It is—no pun intended—sobering as well. This honest look at the underbelly of Christian existence—no wait—it’s not the underbelly—it’s just the human side of the Christian experience, and I love this book for this reason.