Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Normal thankfulness

Yesterday was Big Guy's first day at his new school. It apparently went pretty well. No overwhelming work, and he had a sense that he'd learn things he didn't already know.

Am I relieved? Yes,every mother who gets too many phone calls from school is relieved when there's no bad news. And no, because the fact that the phone doesn't ring today says very little about next week. And maybe, since he's started out on the right foot. I'm pretty good at covering the whole spectrum of responses at once.

Yet it occurs to me that what I'm not good at is appreciating that a normal day is a gift. I detour readily around thankfulness onto the This is the way things are supposed to be! road. And while it's true that life ought to be peaceful and smooth and bump-free, it isn't. (There are reasons for that. Some of them even have to do with me.)

Why do I think the default condition of life is that it should be pleasant? Is it because I think of myself as a more-or-less good person? I could be a good person starving in the Horn of Africa, or a good person living in a war zone. I could be a good person whose farm was destroyed in the hurricane, or a good person whose child was killed by a drunk driver, or whose child or spouse or parent has a debilitating disease. Good entitles me to a clean heart and a clear conscience, a vision of who I hope to become and an awareness of where I fall short. Being a good  person contributes to making the world more like it ought to be. It doesn't exempt me from heartache or hardship.It doesn't even exempt me from continual heartache or hardship.

And so I am struck by this irony: for all the times I've cried, I need a break! I still do not appreciate the respites when they happen. I take 'normal' days as entitlements rather than as answers to prayer.

Do you think that's normal? 


  1. On my healthy days, I'm often not good at being grateful, but instead spend energy worrying about when I'll next be sick. Seems to be the human condition.

    Very glad the first day of school went well.

  2. A couple of years ago, I found this prayer somewhere on the net, and printed it out for myself to say and absorb because I too somehow have taken for granted the beautiful, normal days.

    "Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are.
    Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so.
    One day, I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and want, more than all the world, your return."

  3. @Madrededudley, thanks for that.

  4. After our son, 38, passed away of diabetes, I longed for those
    normal "boring" days to be back.