Meet Peter, our 4 1/2 year old grandson. Everyone should have access to a 4 year old for at least a few minutes a week. Sometimes our daughter would appreciate a little less access, but I digress. Peter and his family were with us for the Thanksgiving weekend, and he was actually a good help Thanksgiving morning, helping me set the table. He decided who would get which turkey plate, and he selected napkin rings for each place setting. Finally, he arranged the vintage turkey and pilgrim candles on the table and did a mighty fine job, I must say.
His real gift, however, was given the day after Thanksgiving. He was sitting at the counter having his breakfast, and I was emptying the dishwasher and fussing in the kitchen. Without any prompting whatsoever he said, "I loved yesterday."
Three simple words. "I loved yesterday."
"Oh, Peter, I did, too. We all did."
And life went on, but his words of wisdom have stayed with me, even when "yesterday" was a day that I lost my internet connection for hours and was a day when prospective buyers came to see the house and didn't take a brochure--a litmus test of interest. I admit I don't love all yesterdays, even though I know there are so many things to be grateful for each day, including the fact that I have lived from yesterday to today.
I have just started reading Anne Lamott's new book, Help, Thanks, Wow, The Three Essential Prayers. Now I must admit the writer in me thought, "Why didn't I think of that?" but that's quite another issue. When Peter said, "I loved yesterday," he was praying. He was saying "Thanks," to God, even though he didn't know it. But I knew it, and I know that God did, too. How lucky I was to be an eavesdropper. How lucky I am to have a 4 year old teacher.
Here's what Anne Lamott says,
The movement of grace toward gratitude brings us from the package of self-obsessed madness to a spiritual awakening. Gratitude is peace. Maybe you won't always get from being a brat to noticing that it is an e. e. cumming morning out the window. But some days you will. You will go from being Doug or Wendy Whiner, with your psychic diverticulitis, able to eat only macaroni and cheese, to remembering 'i thank you God for most this amazing/ day.'
When Peter said, "I loved yesterday," he reminded me not only to be grateful for the wonders of yesterday without being stuck there, but to love today, right now, as well. No matter what is swirling around us in this moment.
Bruce and I are driving to St Paul today for the weekend. Tonight we will attend opening night of a play our 10 year old granddaughter Maren is in--The Best Christmas Pageant Ever--and tomorrow we will go to the magical St Olaf Christmas Festival at our alma mater, and Sunday we will bring my father home with us for a couple days. Already, I am anticipating loving those days. I'm going to be praying a lot, I think.
Here's the bonus, I think. Loving yesterday, loving today, loving tomorrow are all the same.
I love you Peter. Love, GrandNan
An extra gratitude: A few days ago I made the decision not to decorate the house for Christmas, except for some welcoming greens and lanterns on the front porch. This was not an easy decision for me because I LOVE decorating for Christmas. Once the house is fully in the holiday spirit, I am, too, and move through the shopping and sending cards and wrapping etc with less stress and strain. Because we continue to have showings, including one this morning, I decided not decorating was the prudent choice. Therefore, I was so grateful when I discovered I have a clear view of our neighbor's large Christmas tree holding court in their family room. Thick with white lights it sparkles and glows enough to fill my heart with contentment and peace. Thank you.