Ginny Kubitz Moyer the esteemed author of Mary and Me: Catholic Women Reflect on the Mother of God (St Anthony Messenger) had this cute column in San Francisco’s Archdiocesan paper on how her and her husband end their day together by naming positive attributes of the other before bed. Here’s a snip about how it all began:
Several months into dating my husband, I thought of a way to celebrate our relationship. “Let’s each make a list of what we love about one another,” I told him. “Then you can read me your list, and I’ll read you mine.”
Weeks later, on a mild San Francisco afternoon, we spread a blanket on the scraggly grass at Alta Plaza Park. We took turns reading each other our lists. Hearing the specific things that Scott loved about me, gathered in one place, was flattering, enlightening, and moving all at once.
When we’d finished, I gave him my list to keep. He didn’t return the favor. “My handwriting is terrible,” he said, tucking the folded list firmly into his pocket. “I’m going to type this up for you.”
The following Thanksgiving, he gave me the list, but with a twist: he’d turned it into a book. Each page featured something that he loved about me, illustrated with photos. The second-to-last page said, “Will you …” and the last page asked, “Marry Me?” Needless to say, it was a very thankful Thanksgiving.
We’ve now been married for almost eight years. Every night, before going to sleep, we each share one thing that we love about the other. It might be a personality trait (kindness, intelligence) or a physical characteristic (smile, blue eyes). Sometimes it’s intimate; sometimes it’s funny. We have never run out of things to say.
Indeed this is a practice that is well worth doing and is also very Ignatian. Gratitude is at the heart of the spiritual life, or at least Ignatius seemed to think so. In my own life, finding one moment of grace per day is indeed a way to keep our spirit out of the doldrums at minimum and a way to connect with the idea that God always gives us what we need. I would even say that doing and being go hand in hand here. We need both–when we recognize gratitude in our lives, we might be moved to in turn give that same grace back to others.
Yesterday wasn’t the best day for me. I received the news that a conference that I’ve done a lot of work on would need to be postponed. My wife always has a way of getting me out of my pessimistic moods. She sent me an e-card telling me how proud she is of my work–complete with a little cartoon dog who looked a lot like our little guy, Haze. Needless to say, I was suddenly no longer in the dumps and saw that in fact it wasn’t the end of the world. I ended up calling the board president of the organization I was working on the conference with and we had a great conversation about possibilities for down the road. I also wrote a letter to our board which was well-received by the director.
Sometimes the things we notice in our lives are small but they mean so much when we bother to look at them. A smile, a joke, a kind word, a breeze, no traffic or maybe something unexpected. Do we take the time to notice and to tell others how special the moments we spend with them are? This need not be a sappy, syrupy exercise in romance either. Rather it could be a serious look at how we are growing in relationship with each other, dreaming together and admiring someone else’s tenacity that has helped get through some tough periods.
Ginny was able to awaken me to that sure simplicity that I all too often miss.
So what is your moment of gratitude today?
Read the rest of her articlewhich coupled with my wife’s e-card is my moment of gratitude today. Be forwarned, get a happy hanky out and go and tell your loved ones one thing each day about what you love about them.