Ever since Steve died, I’ve been starting each morning with list-making. I love lists. Love ’em. I make a couple of different daily lists, but the one that is always steady and most important in my life is the list of Three Beautiful Things.
It’s really simple, I just pick three ways I see beauty in my life in that very moment and write it down. Often it will be connected to a person – maybe a conversation that I had over dinner the night before, maybe something especially wonderful about one of my kids or grandkids, or maybe just a great deal of gratitude for a sustaining friendship. Other times, it’s very broad in scope like the beauty of running water in my home or the fact that our grocery stores are stocked with food or that there is peace in our city. And sometimes it’s a really small thing, like coffee in my favorite cup or finding the very perfect shade of lipstick.
On some difficult mornings, making the list is like pulling teeth. Other days, it’s as easy as breathing and I could keep writing for pages (I never do, though – I stick to three). Either way, I believe that starting my day focused on the big and little very good things in my life has reprogramed my thinking from constantly scanning for threats – which was a necessary learned behavior during our fight with ALS – to watching for beauty. Noticing it. Focusing on it. Believing it’s really out there. I also think this micro habit has positioned my heart to see the beauty in ugly seasons more quickly, and even the beauty in difficult people and conversations.
It’s been so small but so big. So easy but so hard. So simple but so effective. And while there are habits that come and go through different seasons of life, I really believe that until my last day here on earth, I’ll be listing my Beautiful Things in the morning.