Gratitude was an elusive word for me many years ago. I never thought of the word nor its meaning. Frankly, I didn't give a damn what I had to be grateful for cause I could not see the blessings in my path. I was a worn out twenty three year old who had drank and done drugs for as long as my memory held.
One October day, I walked into a room it was a store front in Chicago. There were green painted chairs on the left hand side of the room, and the folded metal chairs on the right handside were yellow. Green was for the smokers and Yellow was for those who had given up the smoking. I in my misery and confusion of how I had gotten there sat my ass down in a green chair with a styrofoam cup filled with swill coffee, and a pack of Marlboros within reach.
For many years I found myself going to that room, soon the chairs became all yellow. Very slowly small doses of joy began to thread threw me, a bounce to the heavy step became a hop and there was a light that had slowly started to creep into my eyes. I began with a fury to live, to be part of the crowd that roared the streets and through this time and journey the feelings of gratitude began to grow in me.
The word gratitude has a lovely musical sound to me. When said its like a snap in front of my face jolting me out of any self centered mode I maybe in that day. There are a million things I can be grateful for yet its the small quiet things that fill me with this feeling and perspective. It started so far long ago my relationship with this word. It took many years for me to undertand it and the medicinal affect it has on this drunk. And lets face it that is what I am writing about, being a drunk a young ABC afterschool special drunk who crossed the line chasing death and headed into a storefront to find the meaning of the quiet lovely word of gratitude.
I can make a list in second. Often I make gratitude list for others when they cannot look at the green that lays so brillantly underneath their feet, at times others make them for me when I forget to water my own grass. Its not hard to feel gratitude in this world today. With my parents it was forced, you know the kids in China or India never eating. I never understood this force feed feeling. As far as I was concerned I was just a small midwestern girl who would probably never get to those countries to see their impoverishment anyway, so find another reason for me to be force fed gratitude.
Now, I have been to the impoverished countries and what I have seen is that it was my spirit that had been impoverished all those years. The people I have meet in these lands as I worked had more gratitude and spirit than I might ever have in my exisitence. They learn gratitude through being, simply being.
Gratitude now is part of me like a well worn coat. Now middle age has found me, twenty plus years of green and yellow folding chairs indented in my ass and I have just a small fiber of an understand of what Gratitude really means. But in this time and in this moment I find myself willing to embrace just the smallest bit of gratitude. Having never been familiar with the word before the bottle got taken away, if a little is what I get in this day than I am a grateful woman who has been blessed beyond her measure. Excuse me now whilst I go and get that folding yellow chair with a small cushion on it!