Saturday, July 5, 2014

In This Season

I'm not always sure what people mean when they say that a person is either an "optimist" or a "pessimist." I mean, are any of us ever one or the other. Aren't we all and/both depending on the day, the situation, or the season?

I like to think I am a person who tends to look on the bright side. But I'm not always that person. In fact, I can tell you with near-finite precision one week out of every month when optimism is quite-near impossible for me. 

But still, in this season of our lives, being an optimist is easier than it has been at other times. We have so many blessings. And still the pessimist in me wants to say, "All these blessings are making you soft. You'll forget how to persevere." 

But the optimist in me says, "No. All these blessings are teaching me gratitude, no matter what." And I like to think that all this gratitude practice is making me stronger, more resilient, more capable for what dark seasons come our way.

So, sometimes I find myself being grateful for really tiny things. Things that may not be worth mentioning at all, but still remind me that the good far outweighs all else. 

Things like riding my bike home with a load of groceries and the clouds unleashing a massive storm only once I'm in the door. 

Things like finding watermelon for six bucks, when it's been twenty bucks for months.

Things like the adjashee (old man) who rides around our neighborhood on a four-wheeler.

Things like a teacher at school who speaks very little English but always smiles a big smile at me in the hallway. 

Things like going to the grocery store for chicken breast, not being able to find it, but also not knowing how to say "breast" in Korean, so simply pointing to mine. It worked! Yay!

Today's gratitude practice goes something like this...

It's a rainy Sunday afternoon in Korea.

It's the kind of day that feels mild and sunny, but the rain still finds its way to us.

The laundry just finished in the washing machine. 

It plays a little tune (as does everything in Korea, including the rice cookers and backing up buses).

The sheets and towels are draped over every chair, ledge, and sofa we've got.

Sleeping at Last serenades us along with the trickle of rain outside.

The basil plants wave at me from the windowsill.

Jeremy reads on the couch.

Our tummies are full of French toast.

We have good health.

We have college educations.

We have jobs that pay us money.

We have a lovely home. 

We have friends and family that we love.

We have money in the bank.

We live in Korea. 

This is life in this season and I'm overwhelmingly grateful. 

Independence Day came and went without much hoo-ha. Went to work. Taught my classes. Had two Americans over for a BBQ on the roof. Watched Independence Day. Called it a day.

On Saturday, we slept in. Played Ultimate Frisbee and had two friends over who are Scottish and Irish. Had me a little geographical lesson with the help of Google Maps. Learned about how England, Great Britain, and the United Kingdom are all different. Huh? Let's just say it's not for the faint of heart. I still can't explain it, you should probably just watch this here.

We're looking ahead to the next season. 

The end of July brings the end of first semester. Which means vacation and a trip to the States!

Then, we're bringing my parents back to Korea for a visit in September. 

Then, we'll be onto our second year in Korea. 

Oh, the blessings.