Thinking Gratitude in Westchester County

Sandy showed her wrath early on here in Westchester County, New York. In New Rochelle, where my practice is based, by five o’clock on Monday, my office was approaching darkness. Only a week left of daylight savings time, the extra hour gave me time to situate my flashlight and put the files I would need into order. Clients and their aides, all spread throughout Westchester had been called. I was ready, at least in practical terms.

But readiness and long practiced habits were hard to change. It was that darn light switch that proved most daunting. For ten days, with a three day interruption for a trip to Chicago, each time I entered the room I attempted to turn on the light. If the cold of my office was not enough of a reminder, the unresponsive switch sealed the deal. Fast forward to November 9 at 4 PM. “And on the tenth day Con Edison said let there be light, and there was light.”

Getting accustomed to now having the light respond to the motion of the switch, made what was once a thoughtless action into a mindful act of gratitude. Not only the light, but the ring of my phone, the movement of the hands on my clock, the sound of my pencil sharpener grinding a new point. All things one takes for granted took on a new dimension. Whether by coincidence or a gentle reminder, once reconnected with my computer, I received the quote below. Ten days, so much lost and so much gained.

Can you see the holiness in those things you take for granted – a paved road or a washing machine? If you concentrate on finding what is good in every situation, you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude, a feeling that nurtures the soul.

Rabbi Harold Kushner