Thursday, November 4, 2021

Forever grateful--Spiritual Journey Thursday

Denise has given us the prompt of exploring gratitude for this month's Spiritual Journey reflection. You can find her own post here.

My current gratitude journal, like my last one, started as a blank Erin Condren bound notebook.  For years I treated myself to an appointment book each late December, prettily illustrated and already dated with plenty of space for my nightly notes.  But I also hoard blank journals, and it occurred to me a couple of years ago that I could pre-date the pages, making use of what I already possess.  

I began nocturnal gratitude journaling decades ago after reading Sarah Ban Breathnach's Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy.  It was the one practice the author wished her readers to continue, above all the other suggestions she proffered in her daily musings.  The book and the practice of gratitude journaling appeared when I needed them the most--as I was grieving my mother's illness and subsequent death.  Writing five things for which I was thankful was often hard during those first dark months after her passing.  I can truthfully say that even now, "washer and dryer", "indoor plumbing", and "comfy bed" are mentioned fairly often, as is "pantry full of food" and "the health of my family".

Gratitude journaling, however mundane the details might be, makes me softer, helps me sleep better, and puts me in a state of constant gratitude.  It's not hard to think of what I'm grateful for, through that lens:

I am grateful for
the electricity that 
powered the alarm that
woke me up for quiet me time that
helped me face the challenges of the day and
the coffee maker that also woke me up and
colorful pens to write my morning page and
internet access to connect with my friends and
the colleagues who lend me support and
the students who follow library expectations with a smile and
the free Diet Coke in the teacher lounge fridge and
the PTA folks who bought us those sodas and
the mom-turned-sub who will stand in for me and
my son's graduation for college (the need for a sub) and
his sister, my daughter--the care they have for one another and
my husband, their father, who loves us through thick and thin and
this circle of Spirit-seekers who will read my words, as I read theirs, and
the glow I will get from their posts that
I will write about in my gratitude journal that
sits next to my comfy bed that
is right by the alarm
for which I am grateful.

There is a place, too, for which I am forever grateful--actually two linked places:  the hospital where both of my children were born, and the hospital which cradled my firstborn preemie until she came home.  Whenever I am near either of those two buildings, a silent thank you blooms in my heart for the people and medical miracles that made us, and kept us, a family.

Thank you, Denise, for the prompt of gratitude this Thursday.


  1. Chris, in June I received a new journal as a gift, and I decided to make it a gratitude journal--five things each night before I go to bed. Though I occasionally forget, I always go back and fill in the next day or two. I've just been looking back at your posts to see if I learned about it from you in June, but I'm not seeing anything right now. (If it wasn't you it was another blogger in this community.) It has been a very rewarding practice. Like you said, I love going to sleep thinking of those gifts of grace. I love so much the poem you wrote about the things you are grateful for in this day. All the "and" and "and" are so powerful. Too many things to count in one day, and we just write five of them. It is a great practice. I love being considered one of the "Spirit-seekers" who will read your words. So beautiful, Chris. Thank you.

    1. Denise, I am glad you are in the "five a night" club! It truly does make a difference. I'm also currently gratitude journaling in the morning, based on a recommendation from a self-care workbook as well as the gift of a gratitude journal from our library services director. It's interesting, the difference in what I'm grateful for in the morning vs the night.

  2. Looking through the lens of gratitude changes everything. Not externally, but within. I think about how it defuses what would destroy and diffuses a sense of calm instead (that "glow"). I love how your poem is a circle of gratitude, ongoing. And we all need gratitude journals!

    1. I am sure you are already glowing bright with that new-baby love of a grandmother, Fran! I love your response of "defuses what would destroy and diffuses a sense of calm". It makes me wonder if my gratitude journaling is what has made me more cognizant of the media and entertainment I consume, have given me something else to think about, as usual!

  3. I am sitting with your post on Sunday morning. It is so like a prayer. A real prayer from a real life. "circle of Spirit-seekers who will read my words, as I read theirs," I love this line and how it speaks to the practice of Spiritual Journey First Thursdays. I needed to read it to get inspiration for making this practice continue. It is worthwhile and important. Thanks for sharing your heart.

    1. Margaret, your reply made me reread my post as a prayer, too. I'm glad it inspired you to continue your gratitude practice past November. It's such a small habit, compared to others we may try to establish, but it does carry a big return.

  4. Wonderful! So many reasons for gratitude!

    1. I think gratitude leads to wonder, Ruth; so many things we take for granted, otherwise.