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Does Hot Water Come Out of Your Tap?

Sarah with Matching Doll

Many of you know I’m pretty serious about my daily gratitude lists. I find this practice to be important and grounding. And there’s a reason for this. I know it works. And well, it is Thanksgiving week, so why not spread the gratitude. *smile*

When I was growing up, we were poor. Not just a little bit poor. Seriously poor. We would have half a loaf of bread and some honey in the cupboard, and that was it. Regularly. I remember one night when my mom called a representative from our church because she was worried about how to feed us. I thought he was there to just say hi. My older brother filled me in on the details of their conversation several months later. But I just didn’t realize just how little we had.

In looking back, I believe that one of the reasons I didn’t notice was because my mother always seemed so grateful for everything. She would always focus on what we did have. “Isn’t it amazing that we can turn on the tap and have hot water?” “I am so happy that I can make you such beautiful clothes.” “We are so blessed that someone wrote hymns for us to sing at church. Can you imagine life without songs?”

Seriously. She spoke like that. Almost always. And as I grew up and learned more about our circumstances, I’ve experienced my fair share of anger and resentment. How could someone let kids live like that? Why didn’t she get a job? And I’d be lying if I didn’t say that those moments still come and go, but I know that she did the best she was capable of in the moment.

But even more than that, I know that her attitude of gratitude shaped a great deal of how I view the world. When I was little, I thought we had a lot. She was constantly focusing on what we did have, not pining for what we didn’t have. And honestly, if I compare what we had to what many have around the world, she was right.

While we had a little bit of food, it wasn’t spoiled and it was safe to eat. I never went without clothes, and she took great care to always do my hair, and make matching clothes for me and my dolls. (That picture up there? That’s me on Christmas morning, 1978. She had made my doll and me matching clothes.) It takes a serious amount of positive energy to create beauty where most of the world would see lack and emptiness.

So as we enter this beautiful week of gratitude, take a minute to take stock in what you have. Did you have hot coffee this morning? Did you get to eat breakfast without worrying if there was enough to eat? Did you get to put on clothes that were clean? Maybe you got to get in a car and go to a job, or call a loved one on the phone, just because you felt like it.

We live in a world of beauty and love. That’s something I think of every time I feel hot water come out of the tap.

From my heart to yours, Happy Thanksgiving.


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