Grateful for Mom and Dad
I turn 47 today, and the first thing on my mind that is different from my last birthday is my mother is gone. Some lose their mothers at younger ages, some older. I’m grateful I had her for 46-plus years, yes, but more grateful she was who she was. In the canyon of loss, it’s difficult to sense the sweeping beauty of the thing that left the hole. But after you climb up the side a little ways, not quite back to where you were, but high enough for perspective, instead of loss you finally see grace. See how amazing your good fortune was.
It’s like that with my mother. I can’t fathom how she turned the wickedness levied against her into such profound good for so many people. I’m grateful it was she, and my father, who made me.
Grateful for Wifeycheez
I’m grateful I get to go through each day married to the woman I chose in 1989, married in 1996, and have been blessed with every day since. Few people get to experience as much love and grace as she gives me every day. I don’t deserve it but I get it, and I’m grateful.
Sometimes I do the dishes to try to show her.
I mow the lawn and build stuff for the house in the wood shop and support her strange diet of vegetables and chicken livers and whatnot all so she knows how grateful I am. Sometimes I show my appreciation by eating cauliflower. It probably doesn’t translate, but I’m a guy, and I refuse to use words. So I hope after 21 years of being formally tied to me, she’s figured it out.
Grateful for Work
MC Hammer said thank you Lord for blessing me with a mind to rhyme and two hype feet. I thank you Lord that my brain and words know how to play together. People in France, the UK, and Australia read my books. I’m grateful for the readers in the US, of course, and especially for that cadre of high school friends who communicate with me about my books. But the fact that people in other parts of the world have found my craft sufficient to keep them turning pages… it’s a mind-boggle for the guy whose first short story featured a polar bear on a block of ice… for two pages.
Somehow it happened, and I’m grateful.
I’m grateful for my career. In my daytime job I help people who don’t understand how money, insurance, or investing really work. I help them get better use of their dollars, save more, reduce risk and improve their results with better strategies. When I first started, all I was able to find in the way of education was company-sponsored sales pitch training. But I learned from other sources and now after all these years, I’m standing exactly where I want to be, with harmony between my values, faith, and daily work. What an amazing blessing to be grateful for.
Grateful for Jimmy Page
I’ve re-discovered Led Zeppelin. Holy shit can Jimmy Page scream on a guitar. I saw a clip where his b-string breaks in the mesmerizing solo of Stairway and instantly–in less than a beat–he shifts the whole solo to a different set of strings and carries on. He translated the solo into another set of fingerings, and it sounds perfect. Jimmy Page, making guitars great again. Anyway, I’ve been listening primarily to Stairway, Going to California, and That’s the Way on the live album, How the West was Won.
It occurs to me that Plato was right, that ideal things exist, and sometimes we get a glimmer. Those chance moments where we glimpse other people achieving perfection gives us faith that although we will probably never know if we personally achieve the ideal, someone has. So we carry on with a crazy mixture of humility and grace, aware that somehow we’re privileged to be part of the group that gets to try, and that’s something separate to be grateful for.
There’s beauty in the moment where you don’t know if your last sentence was Shakespeare or shit.
Grateful for Good… amidst the Evil
There have been quite a few instances over the years where I’ve encountered people close to me who have done bad things. I turned them into fictional monsters and murdered them in my books. It wasn’t as cathartic as I hoped, so I rewrote them and killed them again. Angus Hardgrave, Josephus Bittersmith, Joe Stipe, Senator Cyman.
Somehow the fictional killings never took.
I’m grateful for a turn of events that happened a month ago. I watched a Tony Robbins video on Netflix, then the next suggested video about why people lie, and in the space of a couple of hours realized when I judge someone by their evil, I do myself more harm than them–especially when they’re already dead and buried in my basement.
Just kidding. I didn’t put them in my basement.
I learned that by throwing others under the bus for being evil, I deprive myself of the good they provided over the years; I carry the burden of judgment, meaning, to avoid hypocrisy I have to examine myself at a standard so high I can’t pass muster; I focus on all the evil and bad in the world instead of the good. My God, I am grateful you do the job of judging. I don’t want the job. It sucks. I’m grateful I get to abstain and just soak in all the good that’s out there.
I visited a sinner in a prison and we got along fine. Like two sinners. I think that’s the point of Christian love.
What else am I grateful for on my birthday? I have an appointment about to start in a few minutes. Zeppelin coming through the speakers. I get to go for a run tonight. Having sushi with my wife for my birthday lunch. On and on.