“By some chance, here we are, all on this earth”…notes on gratitude

Last week in Godschool our teacher modeled a particular pedagogical method by doing a lesson on gratitude. She made a very interesting point: that part of gratitude is living in the moment. I had never thought of it quite that way, but all my experience points in that direction. Although I am capable of being indescribably ungracious, I often find myself having my breath taken away by gratitude in spite of myself.

Despite what seems like my constant lamenting (usually for comic effect…but often to score cheap pity points), I do have a lot to be grateful for. Excuse me, ‘for which to be grateful’. My family is healthy and fun and we all get along. I have considerable musical skills. I was able to get into a good college and then get a great job. I live in an apartment by myself in a wonderful city. I go running in the morning and watch the sunrise over the water, which is pretty darn gorgeous.

I have always suspected that my family is as good at receiving gifts as we are at getting them. That came out wrong – when we receive gifts that excite us we often go nuts and come about as close as you can to barfing up gratitude all over the floor. One year my brother got a fabulously fuzzy Red Sox blanket from some dear family members and he immediately tore it open, wrapped himself up in it, and lay down on the floor.

Last night at rehearsal for Schicchi we were rehearsing one of the lovely parts (Addio, Firenze… for those of you who are into this sort of thing). The lovely parts of Schicchi tend to sneak up on me. We will be expostulating and shrieking for ten pages and then sing some of the most beautiful, lyric lines imaginable. I was looking around the room (because this is one of the few spots I have memorized) and was absolutely bowled over with gratitude. So many of my best friends were in that room, and even the people who I wouldn’t consider best friends are wonderful colleagues who I have known so long that they are almost like family to me. We know each other in and out, have had marvelously good times together and have had knock-down, drag-out fights. By some sort of magic or Providence we were all brought together, and on a random Thursday night in Somerville we made something heavenly, together.

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