Dear Lord, Not Another Post On This Blog About Gratitude

I know, I know. We’ve all heard about the importance of being grateful. So I’m not going to blather on about its individual and collective benefits. Instead, I’m just going to make a short list of some of the things I’m grateful for. Warning: I’m new to this gratitude thing. I may mess it up on occasion. I feel like I’m standing at the edge of the pool whose water temperature I find less than ideal, but know once I get in, I’ll enjoy it.

Also, sorry, I should just add: I’m going to leave out the obvious: my children, my partner, my parents. These are worth mentioning, and indeed I just did that, as well as pointing out they’re the things for which I feel the deepest gratitude. I’m going to try to focus on some of the less obvious, one might argue even frivolous ones (though I’d argue otherwise).So, OK, enough procrastination: I am grateful

That I was able to get a CoVid vaccine

That my dog Daisy is my constant empathetic companion

For F. Scott Fitzgerald’s sentences and Toni Morrison’s words

For the community of friends I’ve somehow managed to accrue and keep in my life

For the privilege of having my plays produced and published

For the privilege of working with so many big-brained, large-hearted talented people who elevated those plays to enable that to happen

For the sound of a bat hitting a baseball and a fastball hitting a catcher’s mitt. Anytime, but especially in early spring

For living close to museums that allow me to see Van Gogh and T Rexs up close

For meals with friends

For the chance during this pandemic to learn how to savor those meals with friends even more deeply

For Side Two of Abbey Road

For pretty much anything Monty Python ever cooked up

For the woman who told me I had dropped my Metrocard on the Subway last week

For getting to play guitar with my friend Rob

For the warm and happy memories of friends and family that are, in Paul McCartney’s words, “Longer than the road the stretches far ahead”

For Yo Yo Ma playing Bach

For being alive at a time when I can listen to great music at will

For naps

For a perfectly, or even competently, grilled cheese burger (I know, I know)

For the fact that most people are generally good

For the fact I’ve been forgiven

For the fact that I can forgive

For British panel shows

For the fact I once got to play Hamlet, Mercutio, and many others and be alive in Shakespeare’s world for a brief time

For New York pizza

For New York bagels

For, let’s face it, most carbs

For the chance to write on this blog

For what my mistakes have taught me, despite the occasional need for them to repeat their lessons

For how my depression has helped me learn empathy

For a Ribeye steak, rare, sprinkled with Kosher salt (I know, I know)

For birthday cakes

For the first warm day after winter

For the fact that there are fat more great works of art and literature than I’ll ever be able to read in my life

For the fact that I still cry every time I watch “It’s A Wonderful Life”

For the feeling of being in bed at night as the rain pelts my window

For the fact that I have shelter and food and clothes

For Tom Waits’ “Martha”

For having great teachers, in and out of class

For the 1998 Yankees

For getting to watch Mariano Rivera pitch in my lifetime

For days when I write well-ish

For days when I can’t write at all and get to watch TV instead

For “Arrested Development,” the show and the concept

For living near the ocean

For those rare few of you who made it to the end of this list

OK, that’ll do for now. Of course, your mileage may vary. Be well, and if nothing else today, be grateful this list wasn’t longer.

Follow me, hell, STALK me on twitter and Instagram @jackcanfora

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41 thoughts on “Dear Lord, Not Another Post On This Blog About Gratitude

  1. I love this list – makes me feel warm and fuzzy for the things that I am grateful for. I once heard Brene Brown (sociologist, Univ of Houston) liken gratefulness practice as something you have to do regularly just like yoga. She said she loves the idea of yoga had a whole closet of yoga clothes but since she never gets them out and does yoga, it doesn’t make her a yoga practitioner. Just like with gratitude – we can love the idea of gratitude but we have to practice it.

    Two from your list really hit home for me – the sound of a ball hitting a bat. I could hear it the instant I read that and gave me a new appreciation. And Yo Yo Ma playing Bach – reminded me I needed to hear that again soon. So, I’m grateful for you and that you posted this!

    1. Gosh, it made me feel fuzzy too! Bit random but I love yoga! Ahaha!
      Gratitude is so important. I think of it like a muscle; you have to keep training it!
      Have a wonderful day 🙂

  2. Hello, you knew this was coming……thank you. Thank you for being a normal person in this City (and you know where you are). Thank you for your List. You know, you don’t have to qualify anything in the first sentence. You can lead with “Thank You” and go from there. The energy is different. Try it.

  3. This is lovely, Jack. It made me smile, and brought a much-needed moment of serenity. Keep on enjoying those simple pleasures (and your obvious kick-ass taste in music). Wishing you well, friend. 🕊

  4. I’m grateful that you didn’t write a cheesy blog on gratefulness. I rather like your reasons for being grateful and am inspired to find my own (uncheesy) reasons!

  5. I keep a journal and write four to six things I’m grateful for that day before I go to sleep. They can be totally lame, doesn’t matter. But I do it every night. I was so skeptical when someone suggested I do it but it’s made a huge difference in my life.

    1. Hetty – Someone recommended the same to me, and although I don’t always do it, when I do it really helps. It’s amazing to me how, even after a tough day, remembering the things that were good shifts my perspective.

  6. Once upon a time, I tried writing a one-man play about an aging man who had lost his will to live. He would start the show by taking a lethal cocktail of drugs and the whole thing was about his growing intoxication as he talked about the difficulties of aging and it involved nudity for much of the show. As he got close to death he would discover he still had things to be grateful for. Finally, he’d call 911 and pass out as it was being answered.

    I was going to do it for the Hollywood Fringe. Put aside the money. Had a theater lined up and was writing and rehearsing madly. Even did the opening for the acting class I was in and they liked it. Then COVID struck, the Fringe was gone and that was that.

    I have since decided that I do not know how to write a decent extended monologue. Further discovered that this particular topic appears to be of limited interest. Probably a dead end for me.

    Anyone who has succeeded in writing a play and not given up in despair and frustration gets my respect. Something to be truly and honestly grateful for.

  7. I love your list-how genuine and quirky it is. I think you may have inspired me to start my own. And I totally agree with you about Arrested Development.

      1. And I gotta add that though it’s sad that Jessica Walters (?) aka Lucille Bluth passed this week…she died in her sleep. It’s like we never hear that happening anymore, and it’s all any of us would hope for.

  8. Looks like quite a few of us got to the end of the piece! After a year in lockdown in the UK this week, I wasn’t feeling very grateful, but I think I might now try to write a list like yours, Jack. At the minute, I like your steak and salt, and I might add to it certain sentences by John Updike and watching the English cricketer Ben Stokes (at the moment, he’s hitting the ball MILES against India).

  9. Jack – what a lovely list. As I was reading, this line really hit me: “For how my depression has helped me learn empathy”– although I haven’t struggled with depression (at least not at a diagnosed/clinical level), I was just moved by how you described something that can be so, so hard in terms of this “benefit” of empathy. I think for all of us, that’s a redemptive way to view our experiences of suffering.

  10. I love this list! Some were favorites of mine, like side 2 of Abbey Road. Others I found something similar to relate to, as in my 2008 Phillies. Thanks for an inspiring list!

  11. You’ve done well. It is important to remember to be grateful for the little things, especially on the days when we have the energy to do so. Because on the days when nothing ‘big’ happens, it is these beautiful little gems that can help us. Peace to you, dear friend, and I hope your gratitude journey continues just as well as it started here. 💛

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