Today as I trudged across the lawn hauling two bags of bird seed - one black thistle and one safflower - I noticed that the red maple is starting to put out little red seed helicopters. When we were kids in Southern Ontario we would take maple seeds and split them open in a certain way and attach them to our noses. Anyone who grew up with maples did this, I bet. It is an innate human activity - walking around with maple keys on your nose. And I noticed that my daffodils are fully developed - not open, just with a full sized flower pod and the first sunny day will lure them open.
Now I am watching wet snow fall from the gray gray sky. Accumulation is not expected. I am standing by my sink with some rice beginning to simmer and the mushrooms browning thinking that life is a lot like today. Some things are budding and about to bud, and snow is falling.
Granted, there are some days that give up everything - sunshine, growth, joy, pleasures of all kinds and no bad thing in sight. But mostly it is a mix. Daffodils budding and snow falling. Or sunshine and the slugs have eaten all the lily foliage.
A disposition of appreciation is not about finding the sunny happy thing and being thankful. It is not a 'glass half full' perspective. Appreciation is much more robust - it is about finding the grace of life in every moment of living. Ultimately an appreciative spirit is connected to a sense of awe toward God. Deeply salted with gratitude (just salted my mushrooms so my choice of words is somewhat affected) and joy, an appreciative spirit can be cultivated and honed to flourish.
Life happens to us, and then we happen to life. What instinctive response do you bring to the moments opening in your day? Is your response appreciative, or depreciative? Full of grateful awe and joy or sour and despairing?
I am not at all trying to write a little devotional to focus you on something positive. Much more to the point, I am simply saying that the gifts of life are mixed blessings, that we do choose, and that what we choose over and over we become.