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  • Writer's pictureBill Stauffer

Gratitude Friday 1-14-22 The Simple Little Things

The most pleasurable things we do

Are not always priced so high

Like listening to a young child laugh

Or looking at the sky” ― Margaret H. Oliver

So this has been an interesting week for me, life has certainly been made more complicated by omicron. Omicron is an insult on top of the injuries we have sustained as a society over the last two long years. The stress that it is creating across our systems and withering of our communities is palpable. People are tired and rallying for more of the same can take its toll. Frankly, I am missing simpler pre 2020 times, which itself is incredible. Who would think that 2019 is now our simpler time? Life is filled with such irony and twists.

I am grateful for the simple, little things around me right now, even as it seems so much is wrong in our world. I had a good cup of coffee this morning and watched a really nice sunrise.

This post could quickly devolve into a list of things I miss instead of a reflection on gratitude. One of the things that has been on my mind as of late is the value of the simple little things in life. A list of things that we just did without thinking. The freedom to go and do, to be and to see. To share experiences without concern about the possible risks to ourselves or each other for being in proximity. What we used to consider normalcy.

But what does shine through all of that is a sense we are a whole lot closer to the end of this two-year blur than the beginning. We have a lot of mess to rethink, clean up and reorganize. So many flaws and disparities in our health care system. We have terrible workforce compensation disparities. We see that our most vulnerable communities are far too often overlooked and neglected. Our self-centeredness as a people has never been as glaringly apparent as it is right now. One thing is true is that these things are so glaringly obvious and breaking down to such a degree that even our immense powers of denial cannot blot away. We shall have to address them. And in this dynamic, there is hope that we will do so as so often is the case when there are no other options.

In picking up these pieces, we are going to have to look at the impact that the pandemic and our pandemic response has had on our young people. We will need to reckon with health care disparities in marginalized communities, and we will need to come to terms of what failed in our public health response and the how and why those failures occurred. One of the lessons of recovery is that failure is a great teacher. Who among us would deny that we are failing as a nation in some of our most basic responsibilities? We have an opportunity to change things and be better off for our efforts.

Meanwhile, I am enjoying things like that early morning coffee and the satisfying click of the keys as I put thoughts into form. The sun came up and color returned to the earth in a glorious burst of energy. I could hear the birds waking up and calling a good morning to each other. Today, I have the immense opportunity to learn new things and figure out how to use my energies for something beyond my own nose. This is a lottery win of a morning against the measure of possibilities. I was guaranteed none of these things, they are all gifts from the universe.

One of the first lessons I received in recovery was to focus on the here and now. It is a lesson I keep trying to learn as it can often be hard. Its truth is there in all its simplicity despite how I may complicate this most basic fact of all. We have only now, and we must make the most of this moment. In doing so, the paradox is that the next moment and the one after that – if we are granted those additional moments, will yield sweeter fruit. This will occur because we are focused on it rather than an unquenchable desire for some other greener pasture that we can turn green with envy of when we look over our fence at what another seems to have. There is toxicity in such envy as is now so apparent.

Today, I am grateful for the life experience of recovery. It has brought all these things into my life. Recovery was borne out of pain that was to sharp and all-encompassing to ignore. This is not unlike the opportunity that we have in front of us at this time in America. It is also true that this too shall pass. There is a post covid world ahead, and the best thing we can do to get to that world is to count our small blessings and help each other get through these minutes as our days unfold. I am grateful for the truth that are in these words even as when at times they seem difficult to believe.

What are you grateful for today?

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