I can’t work in clutter. My room, in the upheaval and un-routine-ness that accompanies a new semester, had been in an Uneasy State of Chaos for a while, and I was sick of it. So, working counterclockwise around my room from the door, I Cleaned – and yes, the capital is warranted, because it was no mere 10-second tidying up. I dusted and organized and rearranged and adjusted until everything fit Just So.
I was on a roll until I got to my nightstand. One of the Random Things that had come to rest in obscurity right next to my bed was a pickle jar with the label peeled off and many slips of multicolored paper inside.
My Blessings Jar.
I’d forgotten about it, failed to keep up the habit, since last year when Bird gave me the idea (which I think she got from Pinterest). As I swiped the dust rag over it, I thought now might be a good time to empty it, start fresh, swear to myself that I would chronicle at least One Good Thing each night from now on. Settling criss-cross-applesauce on the floor, I poured out the tiny scraps and began to read. Some made me chuckle, like liquid dishwasher soap from when the Commodore and I finally ran out of that awful powdered stuff and bought a gallon of the liquid we preferred.
Some, like Bird’s smile when she saw me in the chapel after her retreat, made me cry.
It amazes me, sometimes, the magnitude of things that can be tethered in tiny characters inked on paper. The moments I had found worth recording were instances of love, support, and shared strength from my parents, my sister, the Commodore, the Southern Belle, the Engineer and his family, my friends from church, and my coworkers. All the people in my life had contributed to these scribbly bits of paper showing me how many families I have looking out for me.
So often it’s easier to remember the one bad thing that happened at the end of an evening, or late in the afternoon, and let it erase all the silliness and contentment of the morning and lunchtime. A whole day can be colored by just one negative thing. But when I force myself to think of just One Good Thing, it’s funny how more Good Things start to come out of the shadows, shyly raising a hand to say, “Remember me? You didn’t have such a bad day after all.”
I tucked the old blessings away in a box and set the empty, hopeful jar on my freshly dusted nightstand.
I think this is a habit worth attempting again.
When I come into the courtroom and the judicial assistant or judge asks me how i am I always respond by saying “It’s another magnificent day to be of service to Corps, God and Country, where every day is a holiday, every meal is a banquet, and every court appearance is a family reunion.”
They laugh but I always feel more optimistic and cheerful after saying that. Also it seems to catch on with others who smile in response. You have often heard that Love is a Decision. So is happiness in many ways. If you decide to be happy and enthusiastic and positive, you can be. Pick out a slip from the jar when you get up and decide that you will be the bright shining light to your friends and colleagues that day.
Grace, whenever I see you at church or elsewhere I go away feeling better and with a smile. You are a carrier of optimism and positivity.