Since the Summer of Love Project began, I’ve been making a personal, conscious effort to be grateful for the present moment no matter what it may be. I’m a firm believer that everything happens exactly how it’s supposed to. Each wonderful moment and trial brings me to where I should be in my journey, and each moment is valuable in some way. Sometimes the most trying times lead to gained wisdom and allow for new-found strength to emerge. I’ve been practicing constant gratitude, and it truly is a practice. To be grateful for a perfect beach day, for experiencing a beautiful sunset, or for making new memories with friends and family is easy. It comes naturally. Finding gratitude amidst challenging, chaotic times can be a real test.
I had to take a small break from my “official” service projects to tend to some unexpected home improvement issues recently. I’m thankful to say it was nothing major, a small hiccup really. But it was a perfect time to continue my practice. We had a pretty bad leak in our air conditioning, so our floors had to be replaced along with one of our walls. During the process, we lost some personal belongings to water damage and mold. Among them were my childhood memory boxes, letters, and old photographs.
Each night last week, as I went to sleep in the middle of our hot living room, I’d reflect on the day and try to find the good. I’m embarrassed to say I considered throwing myself a pity party for a second or two, but then I remembered our awesome neighbor who was kind enough to make us dinner. I thought about our good friends, Kristen and Mike, who after a long day at work, came to our rescue when we needed their help. I remembered my cousin’s incredibly talented girlfriend, Sarah, who took time out of her busy schedule to help me create and decorate my new living room. There were countless people in and out of our house over the course of the week working hard to repair the damage and quickly get our place looking better than before. Everyone was so caring and generous, and we appreciate their love and support more than they know.
I’m incredibly fortunate to have a roof over my head and so grateful to be surrounded by such love. The goodness in people amazes me sometimes, and there is so much of it in the world. Love is everywhere. Even right now. It all depends where we focus our attention, I suppose.
Yes, it does stink that I lost my pictures, but I’ll always have the memories. I’ll just have to brush up on my storytelling if I plan to pass them down to my children and grandchildren. I’m also happy to say that the last couple weeks have generated new, exciting, and some hilarious memories that Jabari and I will definitely be sharing with our kids one day. My heart is so full, and everything really does happen for a reason.