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  • Writer's pictureAlex Planidin

Young Gratitude

Do you remember the first time you were so grateful you couldn’t find words to express it?

I have a strong memory of a moment, aged around 8 or 9.

In the spring and summer, when our school field was dry enough, we’d play football every lunchtime against some boys in the year above. All morning in the classroom was just a build-up to the excitement of that hour of joy.

We played 5-a-side.

One of our classmates James would always bring a can of fizzy drink for lunch (usually Quatro - we all thought this was so cool) and as we’d slide down the banisters and out the door onto the field, James would fling his can into the air as high as he could, over and over, before releasing the ring pull into a spray of sugary celebration. A fabulous opening ceremony - play could now commence.

So those lunchtimes were always joyful.

But on this particular day, something else stole my focus.

We ran out as usual, threw down our lunchboxes as goal posts as usual, and James opened proceedings as usual, but that day as I watched his can get tossed up over and over, the cloudless sky just seemed so blue, the grass so green and the huge empty field ready for fun, the sun so bright and warm, the breeze so gentle, my friends so excited, everything so perfect, it just all felt too much!

Far too much for me to contain.

As the other boys continued running, I slowed to a walk and took it all in. What do I do with this feeling? I feel like I’m going to explode! I want to grab it and bottle it up. Can’t you all see how amazing this is?

How can I deserve this overwhelming sense of joy?

Eventually, I think I managed to say “It’s just such a perfect day!”

The moment passed and we started playing, but that strong impression of sheer wonder at all this beauty simply handed to me on a plate has stayed with me ever since.

An awareness of this sense of pure promise.

Conditions like these help, but when I just slow down a little and appreciate what’s around me right now – the keyboard I’m typing on, the body I inhabit, the air I inhale – pure promise is always available.

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