Several months ago, towards the end of a long and arduous day, I sat impatiently in a Starbucks drive thru. The summer sun blared down on Austin, as I anxiously tapped my fingernails against the steering wheel. The driver of the SUV in front of me was busily texting someone, blithely unaware of the fact that it was his turn to order.
I diligently recounted the number of times I had already exercised love and tolerance that day, congratulated myself on a job well done, rolled down my window, and proceeded to devise what I planned on saying to this man when he finally looked up. After all, wasn’t it MY job to educate this man on proper coffee etiquette? The man finally realized I was waiting on him, waved a friendly apology, and drove through the line, unknowingly sparing himself from my onslaught.
Still irritated, I finally got to the window and reached for my wallet, only to be informed that the texter in the SUV had paid for my iced mocha.
It probably should be more surprising how quickly we can lose our gratitude over a decidedly innocuous event. After all, in this case, didn’t I have a car to drive myself there? Money to pay for my drink? A home to drive back to? Weren’t these things blessings in and of themselves?
I have found that the more I consider how blessed I truly am, the less apt I am to be swept away by the external pandemonium that inevitably arises each day. Bringing myself back to this simplistic approach of gratitude reminds me constantly that the way of life I have committed to has afforded me opportunities and blessings beyond anything I ever could have imagined.
Even today, when a seemingly insurmountable situation produces a temporary lack of gratitude for this life I have been so generously given, I think back to that man who unknowingly taught me how to rediscover the magical side of everyday life.
Libby Arnold is a Recovery Advocate at Addiction Directions. She studied Biological Sciences and Chemistry at the University of North Texas. She is a former Math and Science tutor.