A friend of mine had been through yet another sleepless night, followed by a hectic morning, with her two babies -- a one-year-old and a newborn. I came for a visit late that morning, and helped her put both of them down for a nap.
After seeing how badly my friend also really needed a rest, I offered to stick around and listen for the kids so she could also get a long nap, and I would be there when either of them woke up. She was incredibly grateful and took me up on the offer.
I went to the kitchen to pour myself a glass of water. I carefully and quietly placed the glass onto the kitchen counter, being sure not to make the slightest noise that could interrupt the tranquility that was finally permeating the home.
Then I was oh-so-careful to open and close the fridge, and took out a bottle of water without making a sound.
I went to pour the water and before I even started, I knocked over the glass -- sending it well on its way to shattering all over the kitchen floor.
In the next nano-second, time seemed to freeze as I saw the glass's life flash before my eyes. (It was a nice glass. It served us well.)
As if it were happening in slow-motion, I envisioned the glass crashing to the floor, exploding into a million tiny pieces, awakening both of the babies with a fright, and a lot of hysterical crying.
And in the next millisecond, I said a quick, tiny -- yet extremely meaningful -- prayer, begging God's help to catch the glass.
I reached out in an almost futile attempt to catch it, right before it would smash to smithereens. I almost laughed to myself, knowing the slim chance of my athletic abilities suddenly coming through. (At nearly six feet tall, it certainly wasn't my height that had kept me off the basketball team!)
And then the glass somehow fell right into my hand, safe and sound. No shatter. No crash.
After recovering from my dumbfounded shock, I placed the glass -- carefully! -- back onto the counter, and poured the water. I picked it up and proceeded to say the blessing I so often flippantly mumble, "You, God, are the source of all blessing. Our God, Who rules the world, through whose declaration everything exists".
When I take the time to look around me and see all that I have, it's simple to know that I am incredibly blessed.
But this time was different. I didn't just rattle off the familiar words. I didn't speed through it. With great relief, I smiled and enunciated each word with intense concentration. This time, I meant what I said.
I was grateful for being saved from my own clumsiness. I was grateful for the water I was able to drink. I was grateful for the opportunity to be there for my friend.
That day, if someone had asked me if that glass was 'half-empty' or 'half-full', I would have told them it was totally full -- a glass of gratitude.
Often times in my life I have found it hard to be grateful for all that I have, especially when I start to take things for granted.
But when I take the time to look around me and see all that I have, it's simple to know that I am incredibly blessed. Just being here to enjoy another day of life makes me feel gratitude. And then I have my family, my friends, my job, my health...
I have decided to keep a journal of things to be grateful for in my life. Each night before I go to sleep, I jot down a few more items on the list, and it's become quite a lot of pages of so many wonderful things I have in my life.
When I first got started, I wondered how long it would take to run out of things to write on the list. Yet since then, day after day, I never have struggled to find something for which to be thankful. Each night, as I think of different experiences and happenings within that day, I find an amazing array of things to write down.
And I have even surprisingly discovered that if I think hard enough about it, I am truly thankful for many things in my life that I was upset or angry about when they happened. Now, looking back and thinking how well things turned out, I feel gratitude.
All I have to do is look around me and see the abundance of blessings in my life, and know that my glass is always full.