As I turn another year older and, hopefully, wiser, I think about what makes life “good”. Is it the big stuff; where you live, who you married, what you do for a living? Or is it a cluster of little things; the car you drive, your cup of coffee in the morning, lunch with a friend? What I am coming to believe is that it is neither. I see people around me married to lovely people, with great homes, gourmet coffee, great friends . . . and still they don’t seem “happy”. Yet I can turn and see someone with so much less and instead of disappointment their lives radiate with joy. How can this be?
Many years ago a friend of mine told me that after her baby died her pastor told her, as she grappled with her grief, to write down five things every day that she was grateful for. Just five things. That’s not as easy as it sounds when your heart is broken. But she did and it changed her. Instead of thinking “How can God take my baby away, but not hers?” she began to think “I have three beautiful, healthy children.” I was amazed by her. It was a beautiful transformation.
Inspired, I began my own Daily Five. At the time, although I was not dealing with anything as earth shattering as my friend’s loss, I was miserable in my life. I hated my travel schedule, I felt trapped in my marriage, one of my children was not thriving and was driving us crazy, I was constantly overwhelmed and I felt like we would never get our feet under us financially.
At first it was really difficult. You’d think it would be easy; who doesn’t have five great things to be thankful for every day? But after months, maybe even years, of dwelling on what wasn’t right with my life I struggled to see what was. Slowly the joy became easier to see, the gratefulness began to flow. Before I even realized what had happened my life began to change. Yes, good things happened that lightened my burdens, but more importantly, I began to see what had been there all along.
I like to think that even though I don’t continue to practice my Daily Five in a tangible way, it has become a part of me on a deeper level. I look around me and see the good, the gifts, the joy. Not every day. I have my moments of despair, like everyone. But I always try to stop and look around and say “What is good about my life today? What gifts have I been given?” Without fail I find myself just a little bit “happier”.
So, what do I believe makes life “good”?
That’s easy; it’s what you see.
This is just a litte 15 second moment in my day, but one of the moments I most love. My morning coffee with my sweetheart, my record player playing music that stirs the soul …
A Little Morning Coffee Music from Anna Mayer on Vimeo.