This is not an original idea. I have stolen it. Now I am spreading it.
I pitched it to my youngest son today, and even though we were on the phone I could see his eyes rolling back into his head.
Later this afternoon, I am going to pick up a par-baked pizza for our New Year's feast. I will stop in to the Village Hardware, and get the largest pickle jar they have. I will probably fancy it up a bit, ( ribbon, label) but I will put it on my nightstand with a batch of paper slips. Every night I will isolate one wonderful thing that I experienced, and I will scribble it down and bank it in the jar.
At Thanksgiving next year, when we are kicking off the holidays, I will have it as a centerpiece- a year of blessings.
I won't make the family suffer through a recitation- it will just be there to remind us that even on a bad day, there is some moment- a taste, a view, a hot shower or a glass of chipped ice- that is exactly what we needed. And received.
Some days there are gigantic gifts: this year we celebrated Matt and Justine's wedding, Baby Mary's birth, a grand celebration for Henry's first birthday. Those slips write themselves.
Some days the blessings may require a bit of discipline: if you are sick, smooth sheets are a blessing. If you are lonely, a call can change the day. If you are overwhelmed by fear, a friend is an angel worth acknowledging.
The size of the gift that is recorded doesn't matter.
The size and scope of the gratitude does.
When we wake up looking for the good stuff, we turn our eyes and hearts toward all that is positive. We re-train ourselves to focus on optimistic people, moments of grace and love. Concurrently, we turn away from hostile people, irritations or negativity.
Will a year spent seeking grace re-wire me? Probably not too much. I am old, and my general optimism squishes the Irish melancholy on most days. But it could re-wire someone with the reverse equation: young, pessimistic and rarely effusive. That was the sales pitch I used on Matt this morning.
I doubt if he will be buying a pickle jar. Too retro.
Maybe I'll get him a moleskin journal to record the daily good fortune in his life. That would work.
If he decides not to play my game, he could write a gigantic hit song upon the pages. He could record it with Pet Lions (his band), go viral, reach national acclaim, make gazillions and win a Grammy. He'd thank me in front of millions for the inspiration.
There you have it: I am already thankful for Matt's award-filled future.
With a jar to remind you, or a book- I hope you dwell in gratitude, dream in possibilities. The world would benefit from a culling of the curmudgeon herd, and an expansion of the joyous. Try it.
Whether your eyes are rolling up into your head or not- I remain your essential optimist, wishing you all a jar full of joys in the next year.
Thank you for visiting me here. Happy, Happy New Year- full of wonderful moments. Come back often...I'll be counting my blessings, and you are among them. I just might write that on my slip of paper tonight.