During our travels through Portland, my husband and I stopped (as is our custom) by Powell’s City of Books. They’re not joking when they call it a “city” of books. Three stories of books line the walls and shelves. Used books alongside brand new copies. For a book nerd like me, it’s a dream. My husband and I took home about 7 books which is not bad for us. After all, one day I want to have a library in my home. Think Beauty and the Beast and you’ll capture my vision.
One of the books I grabbed is one I’ve been eyeing for a few years now: Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts. It’s not the just the cover featuring baby blue robin’s eggs that’s lovely- her words are poetry disguised as prose. They’re gripping, honest, and engaging.
And they’re focused on gratitude. Living a life of thanksgiving, joy, and grace. How to pursue a live of gratitude and connecting with the Creator.
And as you live in gratitude, your life changes. Oh, not the circumstances. Never the circumstances. We never get control over those, try as we might. No, our lives change in that we connect with what’s good, what’s right with the world. It’s not about seeing the glass as half full. It’s about being thankful for the glass in the first place.
It’s opening your heart, slowing down, and paying attention.
It’s noticing the beauty of the world around you.
It’s seeing your students as precious gifts whose lives you get to touch, if only for a short time.
Anger, impatience, frustration can rule our days. So much is wrong with education, our schools, the world. Yet dwelling on these things day in and day out is unhelpful at best and likely unhealthy in the long run.
So what’s right, pure, lovely, sacred today? Right now? In this moment?
I’m going to take up Ann’s challenge to live in gratitude. To make a list and add to it daily. One thousand gifts. It’ll take awhile (or will it?) yet in the process I hope to learn, grow, change. I want my heart to be more open.
Only then can my classroom, my school, the world change. When I come from a place of grace, joy, and gratitude. Anger gains us little. It feels righteous, but it makes us weary, tired, and drained.
So I will choose another path. Will you join me?