Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Possibilities of Gratitude

"The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention." Oscar Wilde
"If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, 'thank you,' that would suffice." Meister Eckhart

Prayer Flag (Acrylic on Denim)

Sunday I received a gift, a most wonderful email, one that has created within me a deep warm feeling of well being. Each time I think about it I smile. It begins, "Barbara...you have been on my list of people for which I am grateful, since 2011, and have wanted to thank....Periodically I search the net to see if I can find contact info for you. To my delight this morning [I found it.] You never know how large the ripple you create is.

Several years ago I showed prayer flags and bookmarks with colorful pen and ink drawings I'd made  at a local open studio art show. For me, this series of bookmarks are visual prayers. It was a leap of faith for me to participate in that show. I had never gone public with my drawings and flags, and yet with all my uncertainty and a sense of being in heady company, I felt a strong impulse to be there.

One of the bookmarks was bought by a very thoughtful and receptive woman. "You will never know how much your Our Lady of Possibilities kept me focused on the positive when I was battling a now defanged autoimmune disease." She loved that bookmark into weathered raggedness and now keeps it in a safe place.

If gratitude were to have a symbol, it would be the sign for infinity. No beginning and no end. In this case it was a blessing to the person who gave and the person who received and then it worked back the other way.

Thank you notes of any form resonate long after they are sent. I like to think I always write them with a full heart, which probably isn't true. Today I know, when they are written that way, they bounce around like echoes and go on long after I've stamped and sent them, no matter how long it takes me to mail them off.

Yesterday and today I awoke from dreams that could have left me sandbagged for the day, until I thought to be grateful for them because they reminded me I'm not like the person in that dream any longer. I'm not a Pollyanna, though she had a lot going for her in bad situations, and more and more I believe there is gratitude to be found in more situations than I ever thought possible. When I do work my way to gratitude, it is though I had stretched and released in a way that allows me to breathe more freely than moments before. Gratitude works.

Baruch ata adonai...whenever I hear people my age referred to as old, which seems to happen more and more, I laugh. Today I am healthy and strong. Today I can laugh and cry and I know that's because I'm a whole person. I'm brave and move on through fear and doubt, and I'm very happy to be alive. Amen



  1. Gratitude works, indeed. Thanks for this wonderful reminder, I am glad you have received that mail, it´s great to be grateful, but it´s also fantastic to feel appreciated, and know that other person is grateful for us, Every time this happens to me, I am quickly overcome by wonder...

  2. 'Today I can laugh and cry and I know that's because I'm a whole person.'

    I love this prayer. Bless you my friend. You never fail to speak to my heart.

    ~ Cassandra