As I watched the fireworks cascade overhead and listened to Bruce sing Born in the USA this Fourth of July, I thought about Gratitude. My birthday is so close to the Fourth of July... and with another passing year and celebrating the birth of our nation, I get reflective.
The Gratitude I'm thinking about is certainly expressed in the larger sense of the word...BIG things like Freedom and the thankfulness to all the men and women who came before me and created this gift. Gifts that we all take for granted everyday. Gifts that weren't easy to give and that often created great suffering.
Before the fireworks display, I looked around and saw a family nearby. There were several generations there...all lined up ...sitting on their lawn chairs waiting for the fireworks to start. The smaller children were playing with sparklers that their "Papa" was patiently lighting and handing to the grandchildren one-by-one. The children ran around swirling and twirling and laughing. It was a summer memory being drawn like a portrait.
Fireflies glistened. I thought about my childhood summers....catching fireflies....swirling sparklers. I thought about the generations of families joining together and celebrating the holiday, but also each other. I thought about my own children and how the sparkler years and their childhoods have floated by like a summer breeze.
We watched the moths dance around the street lights and swatted a few mosquitoes. Couples snuggled together. We had all gathered on our chairs and blankets to share this moment. All of us in our small groups of family and friends, but all of us connected. We were like one heartbeat.
There were a few stars overhead as I gazed toward the sky. A sky with no boundaries. And although we were gathered to celebrate our country, I thought of every country...and I felt connected...and I felt gratitude.
It's this feeling we search for...and miss when we aren't experiencing. It is the gratitude of connection. It is the gift to experience, with each other, the whole world...all the sounds, smells, tastes. textures, colors... of just being.
It's the good and the "opportunities" wearing the mask of "not so good." When things aren't going the way we want, there is always opportunity to feel gratitude. This is never easy and we sometimes lose our way. We have to make the choice to stay in the here and now. We have to be on the alert for the connection that is always there.
"At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person.
Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us."
The gratitude collage was created by Jeanne. You can visit her at Dream, Create, Inspire by clicking here. Thank you Jeanne for your inspirational work!
Thank you to everyone for your talents, visions and creative energy! You inspire me daily!