You will screw up.
You will say the wrong thing. You will forget your best friend’s birthday and be late to pick up your kid, and you will have a complete brain fart and miss the important appointment you scheduled weeks ago.
That little thing that goes wrong in your day will send you down that death spiral of shame where you remember all the big things that you have screwed up. Maybe it’s a car crash or a divorce, or the time when not showing up on time meant missing the last time to see them.
On those days when we screw up we can wallow. We can lay down in the muck of all our errors and omissions. We can wiggle around in it like a dog taking a dirt bath – continuing to cover every inch in the dirt, even if we know it’s leading to nothing but being banished from the house.
We can ask for help. We can phone a friend, who must have better answers than the ones we are coming up with. We can sip water. We can take a walk outside. We can gaze at our toes and remember that we are still here – imperfectly perfect.
Along with the crow’s feet and saggy thighs, age also brings the knowing that sometimes our screw-ups are really the best thing we ever did. We get to find out that good friends forgive forgotten birthdays, even if children never forget being picked up late that one time.
There will be those really horrible days when gratitude sounds impossible and stupid. There will be days when love feels powerless and inept.
On those days I encourage you to scream and curse and throw mud in the general direction of God, if that makes you feel better.
Then ask somebody to bring you a glass of water and sit with you outside for a moment. After a little while you might feel ready to lift your face up to the sun. You might start to appreciate the way the warmth feels on your skin. The way the breeze is making the leaves dance. You might even start to feel that knot in your stomach loosen, as that damn gratitude starts to float up – even if the only thing you have to be grateful for is the ability to scream curses at the sky.