When you’re tired, the kind of tired that others simply won’t understand unless they’ve been in your shoes, there’s one thing that can drag you along, body and soul.

When you’re dissatisfied, or wondering if what you have is enough or what you’ve done is enough or who you are is enough, the same one thing may be, if not an antidote, a help.

When you are alone, perhaps literally, or perhaps emotionally, this one thing may just help you feel the tiniest bit less alone.

When you feel anchorless, and everything you thought stable is not, there is one thing that you can cling to, whatever happens.

When the world seems mad and the powers that be are inept and there is injustice everywhere, this one thing will not take the problems away, but it may stir your heart to hope and joy, and who knows what untold good that could do in a hurting world.

When there’s a lump in your throat and a stone in your heart and a knot in your stomach, perhaps from watching a loved one in pain, perhaps from your own doubt or worry, there’s something that will allow moments of softening in the midst of your suffering.

When you think you’ve lost everything and your grief is a scream inside you, or a shroud around you, this one thing may just let a little light into the cracks of your breaking heart.

It’s thankfulness, the one thing. It’s gratitude. It’s the dogged collecting of small things. Yes, it’s audacious in the face of the pain and suffering in the world, in the face of your pain even. But, as Mary Oliver puts it, “If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy, don’t hesitate…”

This morning I went up the hill and in my mind were worries and in my heart were memories and questions and the old anxiety I’ve been rid of a while was creeping back into my chest. But I went up the hill and the sun was shining and the wind blowing and I saw geese and buzzards and yellowhammers. And such a lot of bright, yellow gorse. And I knew, with a sweeping joy, that there is always brightness to be found. And I was thankful.

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