Name it Gratitude

Posted by Cheryl on Aug 27, 2011 in Main Categories |

When little niece and nephew, were here this summer, I explained to them that my car’s name is Grace. “Why do you name your car?” they asked? Not sure but that’s her name. They totally got into it and they even had a few conversations with Gracie while they were visiting. That week, I also introduced them to my brand new bicycle whose name is Arabella. Then, on the last morning they were at my home in Kitchener, we were out loading suitcases into Grace at sunrise, and they got to see and meet the neighbourhood cardinal, Godfrey. Godfrey is a skinny little male cardinal who perches in the same spot outside my house every single morning and announces daybreak with the most incredible song! His passionate warbling makes me smile, and sometimes I even say out loud, “Thank you, Godfrey!” And to whoever or whatever might be listening to my thoughts, I follow up with, “Thank you for another day.”

I name things. I name cars, bikes, houses, birds, trees, plants, stuff. I invest them with character and personality, it just happens. I’m sitting in my living room right now looking at this incredible Norwich Pine plant that was an unexpected housewarming gift, generously left for me by the previous tenants; long, luscious, elegant fronds extended just so – the moment I saw her, I knew her name was Isadora (you know, like dancer, Isadora Duncan, of course). Let me assure you I know a lot of real, live, human people! Family, friends, neighbours, colleagues. It’s not for lack of people – it’s compelled by something else.

The kids made me stop and think for awhile on their question; why the hell DO I go around naming stuff? Am I kooky? Quirky? Lonely? Bored? I remember that I’ve done it for a lot of my life; at ten, my new, green bicycle was definitely, Josephine. Now that I’m really conscious of it, it has set me to wondering what it’s all about. And here’s what I’ve come up with. I’m pretty sure it’s not a pull for attention, or me just trying to be ‘a character’. No. I’m almost positive, it’s because I feel a deep sense of gratitude for these things in my life. They are a bit like an unexpected bonus in my day to day. I have done without often enough and I have survived my share of dark times, so I know that I could get along without these little perks. But I’m grateful that I don’t have to. I appreciate them so much and view them as gifts. I sort of respond to them, well, as friends. I’m grateful to know them in my life.

And, for me, gratitude has a different feeling than thankfulness. Thanks, probably from deep-seated childhood training, has an entitlement about it, a social obligation –it’s clearly what you’re supposed to feel and express. Gratitude comes from a deeper place for me. It’s a sentiment that feels so genuine and it wells up unbidden from some place in my heart that has learned to notice the little things that matter – the things that add to the colour and flavour of my relationships and life. And for me, that sense of gratitude probably takes many forms, but one is the spontaneous christening of things that I don’t want to take for granted – so I name them. That impulsive act of bestowing a name on something, welcomes it. Honours it as a blessing.

Skinny, red-feathered Godfrey is singing away, perched high up in Frances. That’s the tall fir tree standing guard in the front yard, giving shade and shelter to me and my family and my home. Thank you, Godfrey. And, to whatever spirit may be listening, thank you for another day.

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