Sunday, November 30, 2008

Unwillingness. by Patresa Hartman

It is 10:08 on Saturday night, and I must confess that I am having difficulty with gratitude. It isn't that I cannot identify things that are ridiculously blessed in my life -- so many. There are so many. My rational self can fill at least twelve grocery lists of them.

I am not in Mumbai.
I was not trampled at Walmart on Black Friday.
I was not shot at Toys R Us.
I am employed.
And so is my husband.
I am not a migrant worker from Mexico sent home empty-handed for the holidays because of this country's recession.
I am not an AIDS patient in Indonesia about to be microchipped like a kitten.

(These, of course, are recent news stories gleaned from the local paper.)

I am having a hard time pinpointing genuine, overwhelming gratitude at the moment, because I am tired. And I have a lot to do. And I have been eating poorly and sleeping poorly, and my body feels yucky.

I know there is a difference between clicking down a list of obligatory and sensible things for which to be grateful, and really and truly breathing in that gratitude and filling your entire soul cavity with it. I want to be grateful for the hard stuff. I want gratitude to be a lifestyle instead of a rational acknowledgement that things could always be worse. That's just too easy.

But right now my eyes are droopy and I am a little bit cranky. I am tired of my responsibilities and want to sleep for at least 3 weeks. Mine are such petty complaints, I can barely stand myself.

And so, I am going to be grateful for that.

I am going to be grateful for my pettiness, for my occasional bouts of self-loathing, for my oblivion and stubbornness and unwillingness. I am going to be grateful for my bad thought habits and my selfishness, my irritability and my laziness. I am going to be grateful for them, because they create light and shadow. I am going to be grateful for them, because they emphasize the fact that I have permission to be flawed. I am free to be every version of myself.

I am grateful for the liberty to be tired.


Barbara Quinn said...

There's a reason they use sleep deprivation as a form of torture!
Luckily, the world does look different when you wake up after a good sleep. Here's to you getting some rest and enchanting us with your unique viewpoints on gratitude.

Angie Ledbetter said...

I hear ya, friend. Keep fighting the good fight and go take a nap. I'm grateful for your insights.

Kathryn Magendie said...

Gawd, get outta my head!

Lisa G. said...

Ain't it so! What a great lesson this is... the light and dark always come in the same package. Expansion and contraction. Can you imagine how boring it would be if it was always light and expanse? Here's to celebrating our humanness. Here's to you!

Word verification: ovacis. The name of a Wash's next dancing madrigal choir.

Listen to our Podcasts