With a Grateful Heart
I have often heard the expression, “have an attitude of gratitude” and while I like the ring of the words, I wonder how many people are truly grateful for the small and big blessings in their lives. As little children we are taught to say “Thank You” and hopefully that carries over into our adult life.
To zero in on a special time in my life that I am very grateful for, is to walk back to my late teen years in India. During one month of May we drove from Bombay to Goa and stayed in the family home in the village. It was holiday time, and life was great. The long drive over mountainous roads was an adventure, but what was more colorful was once we stepped into our village.
The soil in Goa is red, so very quickly you could get dirty! Clothes had to be hand washed and hung out to dry. I loved going to draw water from the well while listening to my mother’s warning, “Be careful. Don’t fall in.” The well was deep, and peering into it was magical for me. The bucket of water swayed back and forth on the pulley, as I slowly brought it up to the surface.
Then the bucket had to be carried to the kitchen without spilling any water along the way.
I am grateful for the memories of plucking mangoes off the trees and eating them with relish. The movie “The Sound of Music” had just come to India, and I learned the music and lyrics quickly. What amused the family was watching me run up and down the hills singing, “The hills are alive with the sound of music.” I ignored their remarks because I was too caught up in the euphoria of the moment. I was no Julie Andrews, but imagined I was one.
That year we happened to have extended family visiting, so the fun multiplied as we adjusted to life far from the city. Meal times were good, but what was better was sitting around a bonfire in the evening, and singing songs way into the night. Others in the village joined us, and stories were told while we laughed galore. The darkening night mesmerized me as the stars appeared in the sky one by one.
A village custom was to say the Rosary in community. So in the evening we gathered in one person’s home while everyone squished together and recited the many Hail Mary’s and Holy Mary’s. It was easy to start to giggle at these moments, as a few of the violinists had already had a little too much wine, and the music was far from being melodic. The hostess was nicknamed “Baby” even though her real name was Martha. We addressed her as “Aunty Baby” which caused more giggles. I don’t know how much real praying we did then.
As I reminisce, I am filled with gratitude for moments that still stay fresh in my memory. I thank God for a loving family, who gave me the freedom to explore a different landscape, and mingle with the local people. We had no electricity, but that did not deter us from rejoicing in our surroundings by the flickering light of a kerosene lamp. To the tune of “Edelweiss” I now sing,
“Thank you Lord on this day for our many good blessings.
Thank you Lord on this day for our many close friendships.
Glory to God may you hear our prayers guide us on forever.
Thank you Lord on this day for our blessings and friendships.”