The Challenge of being Grateful
Not to be egotistical, but I’m a big fan of my work. Now, I’m not talking about my acting work. Looking at myself 20, 30 years ago is absolute torture. Even the voiceovers on the food videos turn my stomach as I’ve always hated the sound of my voice. I’m referring to my blogs. In 10 Ways to Enhance Your Life, I talked about keeping a gratitude journal. I have failed miserably at the daily, but, it does remind me to continue to challenge myself. Being grateful is a challenge, especially with the images and sounds that flood my mind and I’m sure many of yours on the daily.
Why is hate the new ‘go to’?
The day this blog will be published, April 7, the United States Senate will vote to confirm Ketanji Brown Jackson as the 1st Black woman Supreme Court Justice. History. Senate to confirm Ketanji Brown Jackson to Supreme Court Thursday. Watching the Senate hearings leading up to her confirmation was embarrassing. The posturing and outright lies told by the right about the over-qualified judge leaves black people with a confirmation of our own. They hate us. They’ve spent centuries trying to oppress and deny rights to any who didn’t look like them. Another ceiling will be shattered Thursday. I’m so grateful to live to see this day it’s incredible. Like watching Obama get elected President. I admit I’ll be a little teary.
Kill them with Kindness
The above video I saw on social media and I thought it was so touching. A father, picking his daughter up at the train station every night she worked late. She filmed him and made a compilation video. It reminded me of how my parents were there for every performance, sporting event and appearance I ever made. They flew to Toronto to see me act in a movie. To Denver to see me in this big play. I can feel their support even now and they’ve been gone for years. I’m so grateful for that.
A large portion of my extended family live in Texas, which means we don’t see each other often. Though I try not to hold their choice of residence against them, and it is a choice, again I’m grateful for social media. My cousin Davey and his tremendous wife, Tia, both HBCU Hampton graduates, just announced that their daughter, Camille, a high school senior, got into every college she applied to. She received a full scholarship to their alma mater, Hampton, for soccer. So, Texas not withstanding, I’m so proud of them and grateful to watch their success. From afar. Too much humidity. Bomb food though.
Travel is a gift
While I’ve never been to the Faroe Islands (pictured in the above video), I hope to someday. Admittedly, I’m still not ready to plan trips just yet, I’m grateful, however, to have been to so many places. On this blog, I’ve written about Cuba Hola Cuba, Last day with Hemingway, to Chile Chile-How the Andes almost claimed me, to Alaska This week we breathe – Alaska to Tokyo Black in Tokyo. Travel is a gift and a privilege and the memories that fill my head are for a lifetime. I remember my father taking early retirement at 62. We had a big celebration for him. Mom and Dad then proceeded to travel all over the world. Going on cruises, visiting friends in Europe, they were hardly ever home. My father died at 70. I’m so grateful he took that time to see the world with the woman he loved, never knowing it would only last 8 years. My mother used to say, “Tomorrow is not promised to any of us.” Facts.
These last two years have been truly surreal. As a result, I’m not sure how well I’ve dealt with it. I have learned to be grateful to still be here, while so many I know are not. For a variety of reasons. Relying heavily on my faith during these times, I was told growing up that “God never gives you more than you can handle.” Really God? Have you met me? That, being a running question I’ve asked many times over the last two years, survival comes with a gratitude of its own. “Still above ground!” my mother would answer when asked how she was doing. By anyone. From the time I was 5. I’ve totally stolen it. Thanks Mom.
Growing up in all-white neighborhoods the picture above could easily have been me and my best friend Jimmy H. A classmate, he came to my birthday party when I turned 7 and I introduced him to everyone as “my best friend Jimmy.” My current best friend, Ricky, lives in New York and we speak weekly. We’ve known each other for 37 years and I’m grateful for his friendship. I can write that because I know he’ll never read this. His brother might. He’s my favorite anyway. Never into TV and movies, he’s not been impressed by one thing I’ve ever done and I’m grateful for that. I think it’s important to have someone in your life who’s not afraid to tell you “no”. I wished that for so many of the people I worked with. Having “yes” people only in your life is lethal. Do you have a best friend? When is the last time you talked?
This is my 70th blog and I could not be more grateful. To you, my reader, I’m so grateful. Your generosity and kindness and willingness to read it are overwhelming to me. I started this for completely different reasons and it’s turned into something for which I take extreme gratitude and pride. For someone who is computer remedial at best, I’m astonished that these blogs even make it to the internet. To say thank you doesn’t seem sufficient. I have something really exciting to tell you in a couple of weeks/months, but, for now, I’ll just say “Muchas Gracias!”
What are you grateful for?