Defining Moments in Time

26 05 2012

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It was a very simple moment in time, which I recognized as it was happening: it was one of those moments in my life that defined me.

I had returned to school in my late thirties.  I sat in a class called “Women’s Studies”.  They probably don’t have those anymore, but they did then.

The instructor stood at the front of the class and said, “Your assignment is to take out a piece of paper, and in one sentence, state what it is you want in life.”

I reflected, only for a few seconds.  I wrote:

“To love, to be loved, to be happy.”

The instructor walked around the room and silently read each student’s statement.  When she got to my desk, she read what I’d written, arched a single eyebrow at me, and said, “Well, now, that’s quite a tall order.”

I looked directly back at her and said, “Is it?”

It hasn’t changed.  That statement still defines me.  No, I don’t always love, and no, I’m not always loved, and I’m most certainly not always happy.  But there’s always a glimmer of all three, sitting there waiting to be recognized by me.

©Janet Mitchell, May 2012

Old Papers, Everlasting Gratitude

5 10 2011

The other day, I was perusing some old papers I found tucked away.  To be honest, I only vaguely recognized them.  Although I was looking for something else, I’m glad I stopped, when I stumbled on this old treasure.  I took the time to read what I’d written some years ago, over a period of time, and was reminded of one of the greatest things of all: Gratitude.  It was a simple list, and I was reminded by it that what brings meaning to my life isn’t usually something big and expensive, like a Lexus or a 12-bedroom house; if fact, it’s usually the small things that have brought the most immeasurable and profound meaning to my life. 

My Gratitude List

The penny I found in the parking lot today

My husband’s strong heart

My daughters

The money for the groceries we bought this week

Our home

Our jobs

Scott’s mom calling today

My  daughter’s birthday & everyone who was here to celebrate

Our 20-year-old cat, Thundercloud

The other 2 cats, Kinky and Pepe

My soft, non-allergenic comforter

My body

Our leisure time, together

Our marriage, love, commitment & devotion

The tree we planted that’s still growing

The flowers blooming in the front yard

My stepsons

My books & my ability to read

The mint I found in my car, just after realizing I’d forgotten to brush my teeth

My freedom

Sharing lunch with my friend today

The patients & families who allow me into their lives

The quarter that appeared as a gift in my pathway, today

My collection of “the softest socks in the world”

My job & co-workers

My friends

Our fireplace

I’m grateful for Now


Sleeping in late

My parents, who are still living

My grandchildren

My ever-supportive brothers, Roger & Dick

My sister-in-law, Terri

My cozy slippers

My old, holey robe

My heating pad

My daughter telling me she’s happy

Matthew, our tri-color rough Collie

The mug I kept when raising my kids, that says “Give Me Strength”

In reflection, I realized that I could not have known at the time I wrote of my gratitude for the telephone call from my mother-in-law, that it would be the last time we would talk to her.  So I remind myself, now, to say “I love you”.  Don’t go to bed angry.  Sometimes one more penny is all you need.  Getting laundry and dishes done isn’t that important.  Most arguments are not worth ruining a relationship.   Sometimes a Zen-dog and 3 Zen-cats, children and grandchildren are there to remind me of what’s really important.  And I need to pay attention.  I need to be present, and not take for granted those great blessings in my life.

I could go on and on and on, and the list would never end.  There is so much in my life that I am grateful for.  Those things are infinitely valuable to me, they are huge in my heart, and the gratitude for them will be everlasting. 

©Janet Mitchell, October 2011

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