Gratitude greets me in the morning.
In the cup of my hand, the swirl of the steam teases my senses. Freshly ground, freshly pressed, my mug entices my first sip of stimulation. My morning only begins when that first sip is slurped.
The hour unravels from there. It’s a coffee chat with my husband, a proud smile seeing my daughters step into the room. Their personalities radiating through their styles and smiles. Maybe a slower morning some days, maybe some surprises along the routine, but it’s beautiful.
Some beauty in my life that left me speechless were two polarizing experiences. One, being 20 years of age, and planting my eyes on the Roman Forum in Italy. Melting from age, the brick structures weakened my knees and disoriented my reality of being present in my own body. Never in my life had I been in the presence of history so real, that my perception of centuries past exponentially exploded in my mind. The experience of travel can make you question familiarity so quick, it can be breathtaking.
Another experience was only years back. Meeting my husband with compromise, I took on the role of chauffeuring through the Colorado landscape on our way to Pike’s Peak. Underestimating the heights that we would see, I cruised our way up that mountain, confidant with the ease of the drive through the hovering trees on both sides of the road. Until the trees were no more. Until the distance of asphalt ahead of the car was no more, and infinite blue skies overcame my vision, did my confidence shatter. There was no longer a canopy of visual obstacle, no metal barrier, only the guiding lines of ominous yellow paint directing the boundary to keep the vehicle within. An instant debilitating force took over my ability to not just guide a wheel, but to breathe. Riding shotgun, my husband coerced me to return to my side of the road, as straddling the middle lane was preventing oncoming traffic from their declining return to the safety of the Earth below. Every spoken word from him encouraged my foot to creep more aggressively on the pedal, allowing our vehicle to crawl forward. Thinking I had finally conquered the top of that mountain, I found myself flagged to a parking space for our car, and emerged from the driver’s seat, greeted with flimsy oxygen to my lungs, and the weakness of my knees longed for the security of those unstable pebbles beneath the sole of my shoes. Only to my surprise, did my husband ecstatically profess the bus ahead that we were to board, to be taken to the actual top of the Peak. I wanted to do something else with the shoe that was on my foot. I had no choice!!! He was dragging the four us to that bus, and any dissent that I spoke only would have shown the fear that was overtaking my ability for each leg to operate. Our daughters obligingly followed along as I crawled after them all. That bus was driving us all to the Peak of the Pike. My security was in that wall of that mountain that I stared at as we were driven all the way to its apex. Once on the Peak, the bus delivered all of us passengers to the doors of a slick architectural visitor’s center. Around that edifice was a balcony, structurally cantilevered over the abyss below. We photographed our survival there. Below, the tops of mountains appeared as though they were scattered islands amidst a dried up ocean. In moments like this, life has a way of singing to you. It has a way of being profound, of teaching your soul a lesson that no dollar can buy. We had each other, and we were together. Being on top of the world can be extremely lonely. To be The Best. The Richest. The Most Successful. Those merits of achievement are earned, but if relationships or humanity were sacrificed to get there, life can be full of solitude.
On this Day, may your heart and your mission of life be full of gratitude for what you have. Sometimes, it’s all you need.