Monday, January 5, 2009

An Attitude of Gratitude

Well, I'm back at work full time today. I've been coming in the last couple of weeks, except for the holidays, of course, to answer phone and email messages, get a few things done in the quiet of an empty school building.  I find it relaxing to work in total quiet and enjoy those days of peace and quiet.

Now, the hustle, bustle and noise that make up a school are in full swing.  The kids seem actually happy to be back and excited about seeing their friends again.  Teachers, too, are ready to get back into the routine of their days.  A couple of new students arrived today and I can't help but think of the Obama girls who are also experiencing their first day at a new school.

The same thing happened to me when I was 8 years old.  My family moved from Blue Island to Tinley Park over Christmas break.  The first day back in January, I joined my new third grade class.  I can still remember that day, how shy and uncomfortable I was in joining the already established group mid-year.  I felt every bit the newcomer and odd person out.  Shy by nature anyway, my bashfulness was multiplied several times in this new, unusual environment. This school and this classroom were nothing like the place I left behind.  Who are these people? What would this teacher be like?  It was almost too much for me.

Needless to say, eventually I befriended people.  Still, I never felt quite comfortable or at home in that school.  That move was a turning point for my family and not in a good way.  My mother, always a city girl, hated being out that far in the "country."  She never drove and there were no buses to get around.  She felt trapped in this beautiful new home and she never was able to get over it.  The downward spiral that began that winter accelerated with each passing year.

I remember this now with sadness, but also with the realization that it didn't have to be that way.  When I feel trapped, I hope I will remember to adjust my attitude.  I'm not happy every minute of every day.  Nevertheless, an undercurrent of inner joy continues to operate. This comes from being grateful for the good things that I do have.  Yes, attitude is everything.  And gratitude reminds me that things are never all that bad.


Tao Master said...

My mother also could not drive, ever, despite my three attempts to teach her. And we lived in Markham which is where God lost his shoes and no bus ever roamed.
I congratulate you on choosing appreciation and joy for your attitude and I thank you for it too. Your positive attitude does two things - makes you glow with an inner joy and is contagious to those of us who might need a boost in the morning.
Thank you Soulsearcher and keep writing - you are getting great at it.

Lin said...

It's kind of sad that your mom's unhappiness transferred to you. Why stay someplace that you are unhappy? It takes guts to make changes, but in the end it's so worth it. I'm with you--attitude is everything.

Daniel Brenton said...

This post was highlighted in the January 5th edition of Gratitude Watch.

Thank you for promoting the value of gratitude.

butterfly woman said...

I enjoyed your writing here. It flowed and when you tied in your own life as a young girl, it became even more personal, full of feeling. Yes, I think our memories come up to help us move on, to remember that we can make a difference in our own lives now. I'm beginning to realize that being grateful for what we have now is a good thing. Focusing on the positive brings more good things, more gratitude. A cycle of joy that I am beginning to feel more and more each day. Why would we want otherwise!
P.S. Shyness is a good thing. I used to be told that I was too sensitive and it would be a tough world to deal with because of it. Nope, now I proudly am who I am, each part of me is a gift!