Taking “W” Things With Gratitude

When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude. ~~ G. K. Chesterton

For the rest of November, I’m going to take with gratitude some of those things I often take for granted — an entire alphabet’s worth! Since today is the twenty-third day of this surge of gratitude, I am giving thanks for “W” things.

I am especially grateful for:

desert roadWalking. Today it is 44 months since my life mate/soul mate died. In 4 months it will be 4 years. Even though I can barely remember him and our shared life any more, I can still feel his absence, as if there is a void deep inside me. I don’t know how I made it this far, though the thousands of miles I have walked during the past 44 months have helped. Walking is my solace, my meditation, my inspiration, and in many cases, my transportation. (Not as much transportation as I would like — there are few stores within walking distance of where I am staying.) I am exceedingly grateful I am able to walk, particularly since so many people are denied this simple pleasure.

Weather. Although we never take weather for granted — we are so aware of the weather we are almost obsessed by it — we do take the fact of weather for granted. Whether rain or sun, blizzards or balmy breezes, there is always some kind of weather. Today I will take for gratitude whatever weather comes my way.

Water. We don’t take water for granted as we once did. We can’t drink from streams or creeks. In many cases, we can’t even drink from our faucets as we once did. There are territorial disputes over water, as in frontier days. And yet, as of now, we still have water to drink, even if it does come in dubious purified form from the grocery store, and that is something to take with gratitude. I will be drinking extra water today, giving thanks that potable water is still so abundant.

Wisdom. I don’t know how much wisdom there is in the world, or even how much wisdom I have, but today, I will be taking with gratitude whatever wisdom I find.

So what “W” things are you taking with gratitude?

***

See also:
Taking “A” Things With Gratitude, Taking “B” Things With Gratitude, Taking “C” Things With Gratitude,Taking “D” Things With Gratitude, Taking “E” Things With Gratitude, Taking “F” Things With Gratitude, Taking “G” Things With Gratitude, Taking “H” Things With Gratitude, Taking “I” Things With Gratitude, Taking “J” Things With Gratitude,Taking “K” Things With Gratitude, Taking “L” Things With Gratitude, Taking “M” Things With Gratitude, Taking “N” Things With Gratitude, Taking “O” Things With Gratitude, Taking “P” Things With Gratitude, Taking “Q” Things With Gratitude, Taking “R” Things With Gratitude, Taking “S” Things With Gratitude, Taking “T” Things With Gratitude, Taking “U” Things With Gratitude, Taking “V” Things With Gratitude

***

Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

Wisdom of the Wombats

I belong to an online group called The Writin’ Wombats — a convivial group of writers, readers and critics supporting each others’ work and sharing news, gossip, rants and triumphs. (You can join, too. Everyone is welcome.) The Wombats have been supportive of me in my grief, encouraging me with wise words and virtual hugs. I would like to share with you a comment one of the Wombats left for me on the last thread. It helped me, and perhaps it will help others who are also grieving the loss of a loved one.

“Pat B–Love is so awesome, so overwhelming and filling and all-encompassing. So, too, is grief. It touches all those same places touched by love. When that love was every place in you, you can’t help but be attacked by grief in those same places. And so the grief is overwhelming and filling and all-encompassing as well. But it can’t overpower the love. It can overshadow it. But it doesn’t have the same strength, the same staying power, that love holds. After the grief eases, the love will again shine. No, you won’t have J. And that’s the cruelest, cruelest loss. But you will have his touch all over you, through you, from where his love lived with yours. And it once again will be good.” — E. A. Hill

I’ve come to realize that hate is not the opposite of love, grief is for the very reasons that Ms. Hill stated. Love and grief are the bookends of a relationship. The two clearest memories I have of my mate are the day I met him and the day he left me. After almost thirty-four years, I barely remember who I was before we met, and I don’t yet know who I am now that he’s gone. So much of my life was intertwined with his that it could take the rest of my days to pick the pieces of myself out of  the “us” that we created. And maybe it can’t be done. But as time passes, and I experience things we can no longer share, I will become more of me and less of us. Yet the love will remain. And I hope, as Ms. Hill says, that once again it will be good.

Until then, and long afterward, I’ll be soaking up the wisdom of the wombats.

As the ax descended, she struggled in vain.

I’m sitting here trying to come up with a witty first line, something that will immediately catapult me into a story, but all I can think of is Billy Crystal in Throw Mama From the Train. I remember watching him struggle for the perfect first line, the perfect word until I wanted to scream “Skip the first line! Start anywhere! Or at least dig out a thesaurus.” But that was before I started to write, and now I find myself doing the same thing.

Odd that first lines are so important, yet few set the mood or do anything else they’re supposed to. And fewer still are memorable. Probably the best known line is “It was a dark and stormy night,” but it’s also considered to be the worst first line in history. Why? It seems evocative to me, and though it’s supposed to be redundant, even city people should know that stormy nights are not always dark. Maybe that’s why I haven’t yet found a publisher.  Maybe I just don’t get it.

How about this for a first line? First and last, actually. As the ax descended toward her head, the young mother struggled in vain to free her hands from the nylon rope. But that doesn’t tell us who she is, why someone killed her,  or why we should care.

And that’s not what I want to write anyway. I’ve always wanted to write the story of a love that transcended time and physical bonds, told with sensitivity and great wisdom. Unfortunately, as one agent pointed out, I have a matter-of-fact writing style, little talent, and no wisdom. So I put words to the page one at a time, and thank heavens I can always rewrite later.

Now if I can only think of that first perfect word.