Finding Gratitude

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I knew there was a problem when I was craving pumpkin spice on Independence Day.

I complain far too much about summer, about the heat, the humidity, the mosquitoes, the sunburn. It feels oppressive. It makes me crave the Halloween decor and my woolen knits.

But then it only took a slight, cool breeze one afternoon to remind me of the Yin-Yang concept. We can’t have that which is wanted without first recognizing (and appreciating) that which is unwanted. I would never have my beautiful falls without the hot summers. There would be no leaves to even change color. There would be no harvest without a growth period, no chilly nights without the hot, sweltering days.

After I reminded myself of this reason to be grateful for summer, I began to enjoy each day more. The greens pop out in more vibrant shades. The yellow, orange, and red lilies seem to sing out in passionate hues. The sunlight sparkling on the lake feels like a gift as I walk the dog.

One of my children even has a summer birthday coming up. I can’t imagine the year’s cycle without her sweet birthday parties every August. I almost disregarded this whole season as a waste, forgetting how beloved it is for some, forgetting how beloved it is even for me.

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In our divisive political climate–not just in the U.S., but especially here–I find this message especially important. As much as the recent racism, xenophobia, homophobia, ecocide, and misogyny break my heart daily, I have to remind myself that we wouldn’t have the women’s/refugee/environmental marches, the conversations on white fragility and racial microaggressions, the Me Too movement, or the most diverse Congress in history otherwise. We are becoming a nation that examines itself and strives to grow rather than regress. We can be grateful for that. We can try to see the beauty emerging from all of this.

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