The funny thing about making it a point to practice gratitude is that when you go looking for things to be grateful for, you find them – go figure.
What’s even more interesting is that we find things to be grateful for in unexpected places and in the strangest of forms.
I was walking my son to the bus stop, as I do every morning. We traversed the same crumbling asphalt road as we had every school day for almost two years. Nothing had changed. Everything was the same, and yet I saw something different. Maybe only because I was different. Maybe because “I saw” differently.
Stabbing upwards through the fractures and fissures of the road were these subversive blades of grass. In piercing their way through the pavement they had lacerated their way into a portion of my own experience. They were unapologetic in penetrating their way through the gravel and pitch of my mind.
On my walk back home, I stopped and took this picture:
I’ve spent what some might say is far too much time staring at this photo, staring at these blades of grass. There is something so bold, so defiant, so rebellious, about the way the foliage finds a way through the ordered obstruction of the asphalt. And yet, there is also something so graceful about its poise, balanced perfectly upon the edge of strength and vulnerability.
Maybe that’s what gratitude does. Maybe gratitude cuts through the breach of our concrete defenses. Maybe when our callousness begins to crumble just enough, the recalcitrance of grace and gratitude finds a way to reach through.
Leonard Cohen says “There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”
Maybe gratitude is obstinate. Maybe grace is insubordinate. Maybe gratitude is a kind of mutiny. Maybe, as Jay Baker says, “Grace is Anarchy“.
Gratitude refuses to be submissive or obedient. Grace resists “staying in line” and objects to “staying in its place”.
The grace of gratitude says “fuck you” to the authority of the “No Trespassing” sign and finds a way to slip through the fence anyway. Sometimes we are cut deeply by the barbed-wire that stands between us and where we are told we are not allowed to go. With radical noncompliance we wear our scars with pride, knowing that the scars of grace are our gift to the world.
Francis Su explains that “our shared struggles” are opportunities for “extending and sharing grace”.
Sometimes its the seemingly crushing conditions that create the perfume of our existence, fragrance of our aliveness, a sweet savor unto our collective human condition.
I am grateful for the grace that grows through the cracks and crevices of our fractured Being.
I am thankful for gratitude found in unexpected places and in the strangest of forms…