Sometimes gratitude is easy.

Sometimes there’s so much around, it swells up in a huge rush, a gratitude-tsunami that threatens to pick us up and carry us along in its wake for miles and miles, eventually depositing us into a tide pool where we can float, delirious and drunk off our own thanks, our hands paddling in time to the gentle rhythm of our hearts: thank you, thank you, thank you.

Other times, it’s harder to find and we have to really try, reaching and rooting around for it, like when we wake up cold in the middle of the night and realize we’ve pressed the blankets down to the foot of the bed in our sleep with our toes and it’s dark and our limbs are drugged heavy with sleep or something like it, and every movement made towards trying to wrap ourselves back up in the familiar softness is a challenge.

Let’s be real here.

More often it’s the latter.

More often life is like it was this morning, when I woke to a small child yelling frantic from the kitchen, “HOLY GUACAMOLE, I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW YOGURT COULD DO THAT!” and I knew before my eyes opened that there would be an unspeakable mess. It still was dark outside because it’s always dark this time of year, and cold, too, and icy. And packing the kids into their coats and boots and then into the car is a herculean task, but also only the beginning of the days that stretch out long in front of us now, one marathon race after another, with me in the middle sullen and ungrateful and Grinch-like in a pile of my own exhaustion.

Why is that?

How are we not more thankful for life?

So, I breathe.

I notice how, out the window, the freshly fallen snow sits unassuming, like a magic blanket on everything, all of it, the good and the bad. It doesn’t care, it wraps us all in the same soft sparkly white and stops, or at least slows us down, and I can’t help but remember what it felt like to be young and look at the world outside the window with a true and honest simple sense of wonder.

It’s beautiful.

It’s not just out there, either. Because a blanket of cold snow can be a very glittery reminder of all of the blessings we can’t help but take for granted most days: a warm place to live, a soft space to sit, the unbelievable gift of heat in the vents and yellow lights that glow from the windows when you pull in the driveway after your day. Because yes, it gets dark early these days, which makes the sparkle shine brighter.

It’s all there, you guys.

Maybe we only need to pay better attention.

Maybe we have to work for it a little, breathe deep, look around, and let things in and let things out and write words and feel and go deep and tell the truth and remember all the things, good and bad, and then realize how far we’ve come and brace ourselves, because here it comes. It’s there, it was there all along:

Gratitude.

Worth it every time.

This post was originally published on the author’s blog.