My belly is full. Breakfast was free – and I am thankful. I followed the directions and used a cast iron waffle maker – it took two minutes, quick, easy and delicious. A choice of hot coffee, brewed tea and chilled orange juice was offered. Cubes of honeydew and cantaloupe chilled beside a glistening mountain of sliced strawberries and grapes in a stainless steel bowl. Next a choice of breads, rolls and bagels piled near a toaster, a bin filled with butter, cheeses, honey and hazelnut spread was beautifully displayed on white doilies. Golden scrambled eggs, lines of crisp bacon, or round sausage patties under a warming dome quickly disappeared and were just as quickly refilled. Oatmeal bubbled in a large pot, smaller containers offered walnuts, chocolate chips, flaked coconut, raisins and brown sugar to stir into or sprinkle on top. It was a bountiful feast, or at least that is the perception I chose. Others would see a complimentary breakfast with each night booked at this hotel.
I watched the other guests meander around, took a plate and looked for a quiet spot to sit, some alone, others in groups. A brief case or iPad was clutched in their hands. Still others did not see the wealth right in front of them. They looked tired, angry, fed up, perhaps longing for home or disappointed because that is where they were heading next. Sad. To be thankful for your situation, your job, your home, your car, your life – is unsatisfying when taken in one large bite. You can’t taste it if you choke it down. But if sipped, savored, and tasted, you may be very pleasantly surprised at how rich your life truly is.
As I sip my coffee and people watch. How many would trade places with me? How many would give anything for a fresh piece of fruit, instead of a half-eaten core from a garbage can? What would someone give for a few minutes alone in a clean bathroom, with fresh towels, toothpaste and a warm shower – dare I include clean clothes to wear? Basic things we take for granted every day. In this country, the greatest country in the world, that has so very much, right in front of us. So much we sometimes do not even see it. We forget to be thankful.
Sometimes having a shift in our life can be a very positive thing. A handful of years ago I choose to be miserable, in my situation, my job, my life. It wasn’t what I wanted or hoped for, it didn’t make me happy. I found myself praying out loud to please, please provide a map – I’m not afraid to do the work, to get lost, to try and fail – but I need a direction and if it is not too much trouble – I want to be happy and I want life to be better than I could ever imagine. Now don’t get me wrong – I can imagine a lot and no I’m not living on easy street in a mega mansion, yet my perceptions have changed. I was in a position that I was made to feel inferior and I allowed it to happen. It was if I was less than a person, looked down upon, but had to continue to ‘serve’ with a smile. It was a harsh lesson in humility. But it also gave me a very real look into what many have endured for years without seeing any light, not to mention there simply was no tunnel. How could they be thankful?
I look back at that life and see where I am now – in this moment. I am so very, very thankful to find the tunnel, to see the light, and to look for the next tunnel. You can change your circumstance, not by waiting for someone to come along and do it for you. You must do it for yourself. Everyone has the same number of hours in a day, but it is what you decide to do with that time, that can and will make a difference. Don’t cast blame, be the difference, be aware, be the light for someone else. You might be surprised just how much light is reflected back on your shoulders.
As I left the dining area, and took the elevator back to my room, where I have been given a great gift of time to work on my book. The view from my window was different. It may not be a great view, but if I broaden my mind – those puddles on the rooftop of the building across the street, suddenly reflected the colors of pink and blue in the sky after the rain. Those trees in the distance, brushed in soft grey and pale lavender are beautiful – ready for winter. I can hear laughter from men in the parking lot, getting ready for a long day of driving tractor trailers, wishing each other a safe ride. There is a hot cup of tea in white Oneida waiting for me, and I began to write. Whatever may or may not come from that, has already made me happy, I acknowledge it, accept it, and I am thankful.
What are you truly thankful for in your life, right now, in this moment?