alphabetically grateful

September 12, 2017

My husband is my hero.
He is on Day 2 of a 3-day complete fast. I am not. In some effort to join with him, I happened upon a very good exercise today. It was inspired by a Catalyst interview I listened to, with Max Lucado, about his new book entitled Anxious for Nothing. In the interview he mentioned a simple but striking point: that anxiety and gratitude cannot coexist.
I began thinking about the truth of this statement, and it occurred to me that, considering the combination of my general nature and my recent attitude towards life, I would do well to “fast,” in a sense, from anxiety. I began to try to redirect my thought life from the constant train of worries to a sense of thankfulness; but I soon found that this approach was too general and, consequently, ineffective for me. I realized I would need a very specific thought-pattern in order to accomplish any real anxiety-banishment. What came to mind then (probably thanks to a great deal of alphabet talk in training of library interns and with my lower elementary classes) was a one-word alphabet list of my day’s “thanks.” I walked my mind through the letters of the alphabet, attaching a single mental image—one moment—that I could associate with a word to go along with that letter. This is the list I came up with, along with explanations if necessary:

Alphabetical order. See above mention of its usefulness with all ages of students.
Bini. A student I had come in today for a 2nd try at following directions &, consequently, getting to select the book of his choice to check out. He was clearly diligent and conscientious this time around, and his bright and eager smile brought me near tears . . . the joy of reconciliation]
Chocolate. Though generally associated with my own [daily, I must admit] enjoyment of the stuff, today it brought another sort of pleasure. This time, after finishing a favorite read-aloud, and moving on to check-out for Grade 5, I was, frankly, happily shocked to find girls and boys clamoring around me with requests for pencil & paper. Not having asked them to do anything, I was perplexed until I realized that they were gathering around the book I had finished in order to copy down the recipe included at the back of the book, for the chocolate cake the protagonist makes with her grandmother. My smile then grew too large for my face.
D. See “S”
Empty. The pool today, for my afternoon swim [during which I composed this list]
Full. My belly. [sorry, hubby!]
Home. Of daily and future varieties.
Introversion. I complain at times about the trials of being an introvert in an extroverted world. But the truth is that I like being an introvert, and would be quite horrified at the prospect of pretending to be anything else. Imagine that—an extreme introvert not liking the idea of things associated with extroversion! ;-)
Joujan. I like my name [and the family that goes with it]
Kiddos. See “Z”
Lon Po Po. The version of Little Red Riding Hood that I was able to introduce to the 1st grade class today. Gave me the thrill of getting to pull out a few words from my out-of-use Chinese vocabulary . . . and then I got to see them fighting over the two copies I had available for them to check out.
Music. Sitting in a staff meeting today, I found myself looking at the face of the music teacher [one of the few who’s worked here for all our 3 years—sadly enough]. I thought of how much I love her, & her daughter [who is one of a rare breed: kindly conscientious and diligent teen.
Numbers. Of the Dewey Decimal variety. I got to wax poetic about the thrills of library organization, thanks to a “captive” audience of 8th grade research students. Some of them might have even cared . . . about the grade they were going to get on their paper!
Orange. My favorite color for flowers. And the color of the bloom that is currently, surprisingly, re-blooming on my front porch.
Quiet. The library that I was able to close a few minutes early this afternoon, thanks to the shortage of its usual middle school dwellers [not that I ever feel anything but sweet affection for the dear youngsters. Bless their hearts]
Rain. I’ve been complaining about the overabundance of it. But I know that if it were not for the amount we have recently had, we would be miserably melting by this point in the hot season. I did, in fact, enjoy today’s light drizzle.
Sun. It came out today—briefly. I managed to stand outside in it for a few happy minutes, my cloud-weary skin soaking in its rays [and its vitamin]
Time. I had an unexpected enough of it today, on the weekday that generally leaves me fearful in anticipation, thanks to the usual lack thereof.
Under. The lovely feeling of being submerged in water that’s slightly too cold, for a brisk swim, & then of taking a soothingly hot shower.
Violin. I cheated. This one refers to two days ago, & to the joy of having a talented guitarist on the worship team. I must admit, with a fair bit of musical embarrassment, to a slip of the tongue [brain fart?] that had me refer to her as our “violinist”
Welcome. “You are welcome” is a happy phrase around here: an invitation to us foreigners to be part, and to partake, in whatever food or drink they may be partaking of at the time.
X. Again, I cheated. This time with not even a semblance of inventiveness. I have no idea . . .
Y. Why’s everybody always pickin’ on me?
Zoo. Sometimes I feel like I’m in the middle of one, on any give school day. But when it comes down to it, I love the crazy kiddos, and the madness of a life spent surrounded by them.

*Forgive the repeat of last post’s photo op. I couldn’t resist another of the same plant’s joyous blooms.

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