The month of gratitude has come to a close. Another year and yet it feels like the first all over again. Joy is like that: it creeps up and fills your being with love and light. You can’t help but radiate. Despite all that joy, I still worry about the world. Especially the world my son has to navigate. I fear it isn’t kind. We’ve lost a piece of our humanity and we only see ourselves standing alone or through the eyes of social media. Are we even our own?
But alas, I had a moment this month that I can’t shake. A moment of hope that maybe humanity will prevail and goodness and joy will live on. If you follow me on social media you know that I visited the Lowery Freshman Center in Allen, Texas this month to take a peak at the gratitude trees the students created. This campus devotes a class period a day to making connections. A program too important for me to poorly explain, but the point being, in November, part of the curriculum was about practicing gratitude. Truth be told, I didn’t know what to expect. Thinking of my own 15 year old self, I didn’t have a lot of faith that their gratitude would venture past food or friends. Fifteen is a developmental period of defining a clear sense of self, and its safe to say that if this wasn’t their idea, they might not be totally into it.
Of course they proved me wrong! Their acts of gratitude reminded me that goodness is innate in us all; it just needs to be fostered. Sure there were many leaves thankful for Casandra (a friend no doubt) or chicken, but then there were the leaves that spoke from the heart. Thoughtful and genuine.
I couldn’t stop smiling. I found joy in their joy. This is the work that needs to be done! Reminding our young people that everything they are thankful for is valuable and that thanksgiving leads straight to joy. More importantly, joy is not a mere glimpse of a happier life, but rather a state of being. Maybe then the future of our world has a chance. How can I help?
Joy has been elevated this month: I can feel it. I shared this poem with my two good friends last night and I want to leave it with you. My hope is that if you’ve been practicing gratitude all month long, you have not hesitated in finding your joy, for it is not made to be a crumb.