In sixteenth-century Europe, chapbooks were introduced to the common man. They were originally small collections of poems or stories printed on a single sheet of paper, folded and cut, and then stapled like a magazine. Over the years, they have grown in popularity and taken on various shapes and sizes. But they remain simple, sweet, and endearing.
I’m almost ready to introduce my first one. It’s a collection of essays and illustrations, a collaboration with my friend and artist Sarah about gratitude. Almost ready.
I’ve printed and shared a few of them but, alas, there are some things to fix and wrinkles to smooth out and good golly, Miss Molly, a steep learning curve about online formatting and delivery. As convenient as the internet is to surf, it is quite another thing to create new materials.
I was so hoping to get it ready for this traditional holiday week, but it wasn’t to be. So I’ll take this minute to share one small slice with you, hoping it brings you a bit of insight into the importance of maintaining a wealth of gratitude that you can lavish on friends and loved ones, strangers and even the not-so-likeable.
Writing about gratitude starts as a noble idea. It would be difficult to support even one statement promoting the notion that the world has enough thankfulness. We can all agree: there cannot be too many words about counting our blessings and searching out the best whenever and wherever we are.
But starting a writing project about gratitude also leads to humility and soul-searching. I wish I could say that in the months it has taken to craft these lines, I have learned the whole of thankfulness – and adopted both the actions and language.
But, alas, I am quite sure it is a life-long process of planting new and weeding out. It takes determination and energy to find the kernel of good in the every day.
I will never be able to claim victory over greed or complaining. But I have seen gratitude up close and lovely. I have seen others walk through the dark with grit, finding the nuggets of good in circumstances that would leave many of us bruised and bloody and hopeless on the ground.
Gratitude is a choice to make every day. Thankfulness doesn’t come cheap and it doesn’t come easy. It is free but priceless. And we cannot do a good day’s work here on Earth without an abundance of gratitude for the lives we have been given.
Happy Thanksgiving, my lovelies.