Thursday, March 13, 2014

Thankful Thursday: Looking Back

My 100 Happy Days board on Pinterest.
It's been many months since I wrote a Thankful Thursday post, partly because last fall I was simply not feeling terribly thankful. But that does not mean that I have not practiced gratitude on a daily basis. In fact, since the losses of Scooter and especially of my friend K.B., making a conscious effort to recognize the joy and beauty in my life has been important and fruitful.

The day after K.B.'s funeral, I followed the lead of several friends I met while I was in Regina and started posting one picture a day as part of the 100 Happy Days challenge.

It was hard at first. It felt artificial - like buying roses on Valentine's Day. But just like those greeting-card holidays, my actions helped me direct my emotions. By the time I was a week into the exercise, I noticed I had a surplus of "happy things" in each day. How could I pick just one?

The very first picture I posted, on the way back to Ottawa after the funeral, had a surprise.

I had snapped the shot because of the glorious sunshine (yay, prairie sun!), but the sun had been so bright I hadn't seen the handprint. When I posted it on Facebook, one friend commented, "Perhaps the handprint is KB's ..." I really like that thought, and it has made this (relatively crappy) picture one of my favourites of the whole series. I go back to it from time to time.

While there are some pictures that reflect objects (like a pretty tea cup) or luxuries that our affluence allows (like our cleaning ladies), most of the things that make me happy are just . . . moments. Little snippets out of the day.

Day 48: relaxing with Peter
In this period of grief and adjustment to retirement, I am the first to acknowledge that the days have also been watered with tears. But part of the beauty of this exercise has been to acknowledge that, as Ecclesiastes 3 says:
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
What the verse doesn't say is that those periods can overlap. It is possible, perhaps healthy even, to weep and to laugh or to mourn and to dance in the same day.

I decided to create a board for these pictures on Pinterest, and honestly didn't think anyone would follow it, but I've been surprised to see that 81 101 people are following that board alone. (I only have 191 232followers for my whole Pinterest profile.) Is the world that hungry for happiness, even vicarious happiness? So it would seem.

What about you? What are you thankful for?


  1. I am thankful you started the #100happydays because participating has also helped me through this last month. I've had a very rough and frustrating month and have also shed tears almost daily, but yet I've been able to find the happiness in each day by purposely looking for it. Some days it's just something small. Others, like you said, there are so many things it's hard to pick just one! On my downest of down days I have still found things that make me smile, and that is something to be thankful for. :)

    1. I'm sorry your month has been so crappy. I hope you will very soon have more to be grateful for.


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