Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Thankful Thoughts

I have two lists in my head. The First List is full of obligations, expectations, errands, grime'n'slime, and other domestic perils. The First List looms, and pulses. It wakes me in the night, like a leering ghoul, insistent, demanding...

Whoa, I am freaking myself out here. Maybe I should visualize something less powerful. Something I could take down in a back alley rumble, mano a mano!

The First List wakes me in the night, and reminds me that there will always be bills to pay, and laundry to fold, which is annoying, but not unbearable.

That's better. While I do feel overwhelmed, I don't think it helps matters to magnify the situation, to give it fangs, etc...

My Second List is full of good intentions, higher aspirations, wishes and fanciful ideals. In fact when I answer the call of my Second List, that's usually when the First List suffers, and grows, but for the most part, that is a consequence I can accept.

The Second List includes the things I want to do, enjoy doing, dream of doing. It is full of trivial pastimes, and social diversions, and it also includes the activities I intend to address, that I want to do, but tend to put off, because of that other list.

Gratitude is on the Second List... I enjoy taking the time to give thanks. In an alternate universe my thank yous would be hand written personal notes in homemade greeting cards, with printed photos, and tokens of affection enclosed inside. The envelopes would be affixed with sealing wax, and I would drop them off at the post, promptly and regularly.

If you have not received such a note from me, from the Bird House, I apologize. I am not living in my alternate universe, and I have proven to be lacking in the areas of postal correspondence, and traditional cordiality. But do not doubt my thankful heart, my good intentions, my deepest regard, and do please, kindly accept my thank yous in this new tradition... the blog of thanks.

Ruth, thank you for house sitting, for safeguarding our kitties and ratty-rats. Thank you for feeding and greeting our chicas, and the rooster. Thank you for sorting our mail, and navigating our messes. Thank you for leaving that life-saving casserole, which was met with cheers and delight.

Rebekah, thank you for bravery... for mitey-mitey bravery. Thank you for letting us leave with peace of mind, because you are a capable and caring soul. Thank you for facing our critters and meeting their demands, so that we could enjoy our getaway.

Thank you Anna Banana, for being my friend. You always take my side, which is naturally the very best thing a friend can do. Whether I am right, or wrong, it's so good to have a faithful ally. I feel I have your faith and confidence, and this gives me courage to keep trying, to do better. Thank you for yarn. Soft, blue, yarn goodness from a far off land that now feels closer, and more familiar. Thank you for bringing home some of your adventure, and sharing it with me.

Thank you Delia, Mommy. You do it all. You never stop giving me encouragement, and even gentle kicks when I need those too. In my alternate universe, I leave the kitchen sparkling before going to bed, and during your recent visit, you brought my ideal vision into reality: thank you. I hear you... your advice and wisdom, your caring thoughts, and I am paying attention. Honest. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Karen, Chica, you are amazing. Your smile gives me courage, and your accomplishments are an inspiration. Thank you for being a team mom, to our favorite team. Thank you for taking on new assignments... scholarship mentor? What a blessing you are! Thank you for luring us to a new school, where we are discovering a happy, comfortable fit, with wonderful opportunities, and even an easier rhythm for our days. Thank you for being an example of grace, joy, curiosity, and generosity.

Thank you Geoff, because when the fraud department of our credit card called you to report a huge charge at Chez Target, and I said "Tee-hee, I just bought all new clothes." Your reply was, "Oh, you did? That's great. Good." And you meant it, and you have always meant it. You have always been generous, and caring, and you never fail to want to provide and support, and encourage... me, the children, our families, our friends. Your generosity is biggest where it counts most: you are generous with your time and thoughts. Thank you.

Bill, thank you for calling me. You stay in touch. You check in on me. You share little things, and big things, and every call makes me glad, makes me feel loved. I will never stop wishing that we were in the same town, the same neighborhood, because seeing you more often would be the best, and knowing your family better would be a blessing. I really do love that you make the effort to bridge the distance with your photographs, and calls. Thank you.

Hans, I think about you all the time. And in recent days, you, and the service you do, have been even greater on my mind. I don't know if I have tried to express to you how deeply I feel the successes, and the losses, that you know. I stand taller, and my heart swells when I learn of your many accomplishments, and sacrifices... the things I know you do proudly and with honor. And those other times, when enemies strike, when your friends fall, my heart breaks, and I feel a deep sadness. I feel a regard and respect for all of your peers that cannot be surmised, that cannot be easily expressed, but it stems from my love and respect for you. Thank you.

I am thankful for...
my car, which is hanging on as best it can
popcorn and movies
camera phones
needles and thread
ice packs
seeing The Tempest
Biergarten gatherings
neighbor chats, over the fence
trash day, a modern miracle
sleep, when I can get it
thrift shops
tea cups
good smells
vacation memories
the peace I feel when I reflect on who I thank most of all
our days together in this lovely Bird House

Thank you for comments, for sharing your thoughts, for laughing with me, for taking my side, for showing me another side. Thank you blog friends, and Internet acquaintances, for making this space dynamic and worthwhile.


ArtyZen said...

What a beautiful post - and I am sure this spans the gap between list 1 and list 2 - though be in no doubt, list 2 has by far the greater 'value' in my opinion and I think you address that all day everyday. I should take a leaf from your blook (blog/book) and give my own thanks where thanks are due. The roses are spectacular, by the way!

Jennifer said...

Wonderful, wonderful stuff, and so much more important (and lasting!) than the stuff on list #1. I'm thankful that I know you, and can count you as my friend -- and thankful to be reminded of this.

judy in ky said...

Wonderful thoughts, Natalie. It's clear that you have a generous and loving heart.

Alison said...

Wow, what a lift! And no worries about the lack of postal correspondence...I haven't, after all, given you my address!

Seriously, though, I admire your ability to be consciously grateful. Thanks for showing us how it's done.

Miriam said...

Thank YOU, Natalie, for always reminding me that setting aside the First List for the sake of play, and beauty, and family, and community is a really, really good thing to do.