Thursday, October 30, 2008

Thought to Word to Deed

It's been a strange week and a particularly strange day. I sometimes marvel at the synchronicity life serves up at times, and I have been flooded lately with thoughts on multiple subjects.

Mental health and wellness, professional roles in the various mental health tracks and what it means to enter a career track that is still - in many ways - in the process of being defined, nostaligia and the impact of memory, forgiveness and gratitude... and the restorative power of nature and how even the simplest of things, like sunshine and the scent of burning leaves, can be a source of salvation in difficult times.

I was listening to NPR this morning (I know... what a surprise), and I heard a story about a woman who was reconsidering her college options because her mother had lost her job. One of the schools she had previously considered, Boston University, carried a projected price tag of $200,000 for 4 years there.

That's where I went to school. And although it was not quite that high at the time I attended, it was enormously pricey. And it made me realize what a huge gift it was to receive help from my parents in order to attend.... and an even greater gift when my mother and stepfather paid off my college loans several years ago.

I had already been thinking about all of the sacrifices they made throughout my childhood and about how all the things I had taken for granted (holidays, traditions, safety, good schooling, an emphasis on education, dinners together each night, long talks, responsibility and freedom) are so amazingly hard and stressful when you're the parent.

Having my own child has opened my eyes to the amount of sacrifice, intention, thought, care, generosity, love, and careful attention they put into raising me. It has increased my gratitude for and appreciation of their parenting choices, along with forgiveness for mistakes, which we are all capable of making (and all do).

I do not say thank-you enough. I feel, especially lately, like I need to do a better job of expressing my gratitude toward those special people in my life and opening my heart more in order to spend more time expressing joy and less time caught in criticism, impatience, or stress-induced frustration.

Lately I imagine writing thank you cards each week, or even each day... sending them out to everyone I can think of with personalized notes and sincere, heartfelt thanks for all the big and little things that make a difference in my life.

So... as of this moment, I make the intention to write one card per month, expressing my thanks to someone important. (And some of you may someday know if I've actually followed through!)

1 comment:

plaidshoes said...

What a great idea. I, too, since having kids have realized all the sacrifices my parents made without me ever realizing it.