Six-thirty in the morning is dark again, an envelope of stillness as dog and I walk beneath the canopy of trees along the street. No other human or canine life was visible this morning, suppressed perhaps by a cool rain soaking the thirsty green above and below. Even the manic squirrels were strangely absent from the scene.
A curious gratitude is the warm glow at my center this morning, smiling as I am at the gentle rain still lightly showering the scene beyond my windows. The varied shifts of yellow school buses have come and gone, their whining wheels calling in the dark from each corner to announce their progress up and down the street. Yet still the absence of light outside keeps electricity humming through these walls to the tungsten filaments blazing yellow from the lamps inside my house.
What is comforting about a cool rain on a dark morning, the umbrellaed dog-walkers now unable to wait any longer to facilitate the relief of their charges? Perhaps it is a sense of cleansing the world all around at a moment when news from Washington feels filthy and in need of a bath. Maybe the steady light drizzle raining moisture from red and brown tinged leaves, feels like a thin veil of stillness draped over my corner of the world.
Normally I would be far more content to sit on my patio and watch blue jays and flickers fighting over our offertory of seed, but just now I am more pleased to be watching the rain and feeling this strange gratitude. Gratitude is healing, you know?
The most stubborn of wounds, the gash of grief, its deep slice into the heart, resists all treatments. When we are grieving a loss there is nothing to staunch that misery. Even the presence of friends and loved ones, while truly comforting, cannot fill the hollowing out of the heart’s marrow when grief has tunneled through.
Only gratitude heals grief, and only over time, of course.
Whatever its magic, gratitude is a super power all its own. Gratitude is a slow, intricate healing mitosis, like cell division replacing injured and dead skin. When placed into the wound of grief, even a morsel of gratitude will multiply itself and suture the ragged tissue of sorrow and loss toward restoration. It builds upon itself and grows, eventually reversing the pervasive spread of grief that otherwise becomes a pall upon every element of life.
Gratitude heals more than grief, though. A steady diet of gratitude for the gifts and blessedness in our lives, can fuel us with the strength to get through these days of outrage. When one more scrap of awful news seems like it might be the final straw that brings us down, an intentional and steady dose of gratitude can power us through – even empower us to continue our resistance.
Nothing is a silver bullet, and gratitude is but one element of a healthy diet. But gratitude, like Vitamin B-1 and B-2, convert food into energy and nurture our vision. Gratitude is even self-multiplying, so do not delay, get some right away.