In the midst of big, even huge things to be grateful for, it’s the little things we tend to take for granted, that keep life sweet, isn’t it? I find most of those at home.
Gratitude comes easy at Hope House, particularly in the backyard. God and others before us cooperated to make it so. Scores of trees caress sky here. In spring, monarchs and swallowtails dance above mauve lilacs. In winter white-tailed deer find a midnight haven. Right about now, ladybugs dot every plant with cheer. At night, when I can’t sleep, I sometimes wander out to the back deck to talk to the Star-maker. Last night, even the moon smiled.
Love makes precious memories here. A few weeks ago, the Preacher and I watched our first grandbean (can he be seven already?) mow the lawn with the push-mower for the first time, his face determined, his long body stretched almost horizontal. He and his siblings visit often. They insist on underducks on the swings, play “spy” among the maples, feast on raspberries, and laugh themselves silly during water balloon wars. Together, we tote prunings to the wheelbarrow, plant seeds in spring, and help with harvest, however small.
It’s the unrehearsed, unprogrammed, spontaneous things that tug the gratitude chord for me — the family BBQ last week. The family photo shoot (courtesy of our photographer daughter.) The family guys kicking a football around. The third grandbean and I, flopped on our backs, inspecting cloudshapes. And Phi, our son’s golden retriever, smiling wide (dogs do that, you know) and galloping like joy unleashed, chasing remnants of recently trimmed trees.
Sometimes on pleasant mornings, waking with the day, the Preacher and I walk out to inspect the garden, pulling up a weed here and there, picking whatever’s in season. This year our cherry tomatoes hung in clusters like grapes. Even the beefsteaks amazed us. We’ll eat them all winter, praying to remember the sun, the green, the shine and the laughter, when the wind blows cold outside and in.
I take holidays sometimes. Coming home is always the best part. All I need and want in life is there. Beloved family, welcome guests, and nature at the doorstep: every beauty and every blessing an undeserved gift from God. My heart bows in gratitude.
None of us knows about next year — even next week. Blessings have no guarantees. But for now, we each have been given cherished graces. For these good moments; for strength for this day and bright hope for tomorrow, let us together give thanks.