Back in February I wrote here about a fortune cookie my husband opened that promised, “Three months from this date, good things will happen.” We marked that upcoming date – May 18th – on our calendar at home and idle speculation about good things buoyed us through various times during the winter.
I had written in that earlier entry that I realized good things happen to us every day but I am often not paying attention. (I seem to write about this theme a lot.) I decided to keep track of good things that I saw every day by making notes. Now as I re-read it all at once, my daily log strikes me as sometimes funny, often surprising and yet very predictable.
My notes for the very first day of my project: Monday, 2/20 – “I forgot! Can’t believe that on the first day of this, I simply forgot to pay attention!”
It improved after that.
The next night my husband, who had been out of town, called to say he was coming home early. Certainly a good thing had happened.
The following day was Ash Wednesday: “A beautiful gold and scarlet sunrise from our bedroom window as we sit and have coffee this morning.” Many of my notes involve nature, the sky, the birds singing and sunrises. Always there but now I was remembering to look.
That weekend’s notes were filled with family as I flew out to celebrate a sisters’s 60th birthday. Details of that long and laughing weekend include walks we three sisters took through woods and gardens, late nights of talking and a special dinner where my brother joined us.
I stopped keeping track after many weeks but there are repeating ideas in my notes. Family and close friends are a key to “good things” in my life. Sometimes it is as simple as cooking with my neighbor. Once I was grateful to sit with a friend while she composed her mother’s eulogy. Another time someone I love cried and told me of a deep pain. It was a privileged place and I recognized it as a Good Thing.
As the weeks went on, I would lose track and then remember to notice the daffodils blooming in front of my office. The smell of the blooming trees, the sudden soft weather and a remarkably beautiful Spring, all gave me a lot to pay attention to.
Music nudged me to listen and at one memorable funeral on campus, a soloist chanted In Paradisium. His voice floated mystically through the church unaccompanied, as he asked the angels to lead her home.
But May 18th – the real “Something Good” date? Our daughter, Katy, who married John last summer, called a few weeks earlier and invited us and her in-laws for dinner, something she does periodically. I was delighted to think that this was the place we would spend our “Something Good” evening.
I could not have imagined in February when we opened the fortune cookie that three months from that date we would be gathered around her table for dinner, celebrating with John’s parents the arrival of a baby next winter – the first grandchild for all of us.