September 2003
Contributing Editor: Kara L.C. Jones

Being Grateful

This is not something I do often enough. In fact, after my child died, I never thought I'd be grateful again. And some days are still very hard because I ache for my child to be here -- lo, these four years after his death. On those difficult days, there is just nothing for which to be grateful because I'd just rather be with my child. *BUT* after these several years, I do actually have a day here and there where I am grateful. Though I doubt my sense of being grateful is the same as most.

Most might be grateful for that new car, or the two week family vacation, or that new job that pays more and has less of a commute. But for me, my grateful days are made up of things like sighs of relief that a child is born alive after a difficult pregnancy, or that a mother survives after almost bleeding to death in childbirth, or giving prayers of thanks to [enter name of Higher Power here] for letting that child heal after being in the ICU with some childhood disease that turned deadly.

My sense of life is very much mingled with a sense of death. For this, I am grateful because it makes me appreciate every second that my husband is alive and with me -- even when I'm upset with him about something or other. I'm grateful because I know to the marrow of my bones that someday death will separate us from being on the physical realm together.

Okay, so this month's Poetry Therapy exercise is to look into the words you are using verbally and in writing to see where you are grateful vs where you are fearful. And then to take all the fearful places and rewrite them as grateful words. What good does this do? I don't know. Maybe it does no good at all. BUT maybe it just helps me to release the fear and have a miraculous shift in perspective for just a moment or two. Maybe it just helps me to remember that I am grateful to be alive, until it is my turn to die and be back with my son.

So what do I mean by grateful vs fearful? Let me give you a couple of explicit examples:

Fearful: I fear my husband will die and I'll be all alone.
Grateful: My husband is alive and well at this moment and I'm enjoying this moment with him.

Fearful: I fear being homeless and having to sleep in a shelter separated from my husband.
Grateful: At this moment, I have a roof over my head and can hug my husband at this very second.

Fearful: I am a terrible artist, and my work is just not any good.
Grateful: I am a working artist, and everything I do teaches me something about my art.

Okay, maybe it isn't poetry really. Maybe this month's column is a prose column! So the challenge is to take a few moments every single day and:

  • -Write down five of your fears -- AND THEN --
  • -Rewrite those into statements of grace that acknowledge a sense of being grateful.
  • -Do it for one month.
  • -At the end of the month, give yourself the gift of an hour to go through all your prose and type up only the grateful statements.
  • -Print out the sheet of grateful statements.
  • -Fold that up and keep it in your wallet or bag or calendar -- keep it in something you have access to easily everyday.
  • -Then for the next month, give yourself the gift of a few minutes every single day to re-read those grateful statements. Just remind yourself of that sense of grace -- even if you don't feel it -- just read it.

Try it. See what happens. See how it feels. Feel free to write and share your experience with us!

Miracles to you,

Kara L.C. Jones, Dakota's Mommy
Editor-In-Chief, KotaPress



About the Author
Kevin Smith fan, Lord of the Rings freak, would rather escape to watch movies than work, your general variety of slacker, queen of purple hair, foolish curator, idiotic editor, and generally bored with everything lately. Oh yeah, and a grandma, but if anyone except the grandchild calls her granny, she'll turn Huntress on you! If you have questions or comments, send email to


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