Last weekend, my husband, Jim and I had dinner at a Chinese restaurant. At the end, we opened our fortune cookies. Mine was bland and offered lucky numbers. But Jim’s fortune was specific and intriguing: “Three months from this date, good things will happen.”
We laughed and calculated the date in mid-May when good things will happen. I went home and marked it on the calendar in the kitchen. Good things will happen to us!
The next day, I went for a long walk, taking advantage of our 40 degree winter and enjoying the sunshine, pondering the fortune of “good things” that will come this Spring. I strolled through the park, nodding and smiling at everyone else who was so happy to have this warm mid-winter day.
I noticed the canopy of huge old trees that hang over the road in the park. In February, they look like fabulous sculptures of brown against a blue sky. I thought of the many times our family has walked, biked, or driven along this road. I savored my memories of the beautiful green canopy of trees in the summer, when they bend down over the road. The weather is so warm right now that the birds are even chattering and singing, completely out of season.
“Well this could be a day when â€˜good things happen,’” I thought to myself. Then I realized that this day was already exactly this way and I likely would not have noticed any of it — smiling joggers, birds singing, trees arching — if I hadn’t tucked the idea of “good things happening” into my consciousness.
There are more than 80 days between now and the “good things will happen” day on our kitchen calendar–days for me to remember that every day good things happen, just as a simple gift. I have decided to make a list for the next 80 days of the daily good things that happen in my everyday life. It’s an exercise in paying attention. I will let you know what I find.
Now that seems to be my good fortune!
Not to worry, I devour ghost story collections although I usually fall asleep in doing so (I call those reading naps). It’s just entertainment like fortunes in cookies. If we don’t take it seriously and start lighting black candles or reading cards we are okay. No different than watching Star Trek or daytime TV soap operas et al.
I like fortune cookes, but I wish they’d leave the “fortune” bit out of it.
But this story can count as an Ignatian consolation, since it got me thinking about God’s “good things” — breathing in and out, seeing robins, smiling at babies, and praying for their parents, enjoying a fast- melting popsicle on a hot summer day…
For the past 16 months, I’ve been practicing gratitude daily. This helps me “Find God in all things”. I receive a free Word For The Day on gratitude from gratefulness.org. These words come from many religious, spiritual and secular sources. Some of them are familiar to me and some new. It is great to “meet” some new people who practice gratitude. Then I write a list in my gratitude journal of at least 5 things I am grateful for that day. Doing this daily has made a big improvement in me and my life. I willingly acknowledge my failures, losses, challenges, opportunities, successes and blessings daily. I end the day with my Examen and an openness to the future. Yes, good things happen every day. Deo Gratias!
Today’s retreat treat (Ignatian Adventure, Week One, Day 7) is right on and an answer to much prayer and obviously a universal question:
Great reminder that sometimes we really don’t know the good we do under the daily seeming humdrum.
I murmur, “All is well.” very quietly to myself every so often and it always reminds me that good things are happening right where I stand if I am aware.
I reflect on Julian of Norwich’s “All shall be well.” teaching frequently also. I play the song “The Bells of Norwich” from the music CD “Beneath the Snow” (2007) by The Moonrakers to help me fully experience Julian’s teaching now in my life and the lives of others. Listening and imagining and recognizing always calms and refreshes me.
It’s the same with miracles. To acknowledge one is to grow awareness.
So, yeah. You’re absolutely right.
If weâ€™re not looking, we fail to see, appreciate, and give thanks and praise for the everyday miracles happening all around.
Maureen, what a great idea to make us more aware! Thanks. Ann
One of my favorite hymns at church has this line: “Open my eyes, Lord. Help me to see your face.” You opened my eyes today, Maureen, and I am so very grateful. I’m hoping to travel through Lent awake and aware.
Rejoice in this day indeed: I got my first junk e-mail from Linkedin (from signing up for this blog). Grrr. Is there any way we can tighten that? That would be a Good Thing!
Smile. That’s what I do all the time!
Thanks for commenting, Linda. I’m not sure why signing up for blog e-mails would have triggered Linkedin spam; we don’t send our e-mail list to them. But I take your point.
Of course you don’t. They scroll (pun intended) the Internet seeking the ruin of computers. Okay I knew I should never walk in the rain.
Hope you are having a great weekend over there.
It’s amazing how the expectancy of good things to come in the future allowed you to see good things now. My prayer is that I never stop expecting good things to happen. I’m reminded of the scripture, this is the day that the Lord has made, I’ll shall rejoice and be glad in it!
“Rejoice in this day!” Words to carry today, Adrienne! Thanks.
What a great post to read as I start the day! Thank you!
Thanks, Claire and Bob. Bob, I love your mother’s calendar idea – what a nice memory for you.
I, too, love the calendar idea!!! Used to do this in my prayer journal at the end of the day but then got sloppy…lazy? In any event, need to get back to this.
Thank you for your thoughtful and thought provoking comments.
My mother had a large monthly calendar on the wall in her home and she would write on each day all the good things that happened that day. She’s gone now but your comments brought back good memories.
I’m not going to way until May!