Yesterday* was a good day. The weather was nice which helped of course. Today it is raining and it is already an effort to recall the feelings I had yesterday. We had returned from holiday the day before, the kids (my step children) had gone home and my husband was back at work. I had an entire day with which to do whatever I wanted.
We are often told to think of people in poor countries and feel grateful for what we have. I agree, but I don’t need to think so far afield to feel grateful. I think of myself even ten years ago, I didn’t have all that I have now. Twenty years ago I was sometimes short of money for food and bills; I didn’t have a reliable car or money for weekends away. I am also sure that the childhood me would have been happy with the life I have now: I have all the freedom I want, true love and two cats!
I did three loads of laundry, and enjoyed it. I remembered how lucky I was to have a working washing machine at home. In the past I have had to use a launderette or wash everything by hand in the bath, neither of which I enjoyed.
I went shopping and got food to make a healthy home cooked meal full of vegetables for dinner, having eaten out a lot on holiday. The fact that we ate out so much is also a cause for gratitude. I went to the pool for a swim. In my purse I have a swim card, paid for on a monthly direct debit, which entitles me to go swimming as often as I like. This makes me very happy. I did all this in a reliable car, which is booked in for an MOT next week, and although I am financially aware of this expense coming up, it doesn’t fill me with worry or fear.
I wrote and posted a blog. I sat in the garden with the hot sun on my back and read a good book. I did a bit of housework and prepared dinner and I didn’t mind doing any of it. I was grateful for the house and the food, happy that all I have to do is this little bit of action (cleaning, food preparation) and in return I get a nice home of my own and a filling, healthy dinner.
Of course, a major contributor to my happiness was the absence of any problems: nothing wrong with the house or the car, nothing wrong with my health, no emotional problems. Also, I wasn’t lacking anything. I had everything I needed. It hasn’t always been like that. There have been times when I have been short of healthy food or clothes or moisturiser, things that notice.
Everyone laughs at how much I take on holiday. But I have noticed recently, what a pleasure packing is, because I have lots of clothes I like, that I actually like wearing, are practical and that I feel good in. I don’t spend a lot of money on clothes, but I seem to have everything I need at the moment. So when my jeans got sandy at the beach, I had another pair. When it rained and those got wet, I had a clean dry pair to put on. And when it got cold I had plenty of warm tops and jumpers. On the last day, just when I was down to the dregs of my suitcase and wondering what to put on, I suddenly realised I had more stuff that I had hung up in the wardrobe, and found a nice, comfortable outfit for travelling home in.
I didn’t write anything down while I was on holiday, so it was in the peace and quiet of yesterday that everything began coming back to me. My stepdaughter saying to me, you’re so good with little kids, I remember when I first met you, you used to play games with me all the time.
Getting up at 5am to go and watch the sun rising over the sea, just me and the kids. Remembering the obvious: the things you give attention to, grow. God and religiosity is closer and stronger the more I pray. OCD recedes if I ignore its ridiculous compulsions. Prayer and healing is easier if done often. Although I might want to brush my teeth and wash my face or even make a cup of tea first, prayer should really come before twitter or facebook in the morning. If I feel dizzy when I do healing standing up, I can sit down instead (I cannot believe it took me this long to think of this). For all of it, I say thank you.
*It has taken me a few days to edit and tidy