Emptying My Gratitude Purse, a Reflection

In 2006, one of our founding bloggers, Jana Remy, wrote a delightful post about what she finds under her bed or couch in her journal as a novel way to record our personal histories. She writes,

Louise [Plummer] suggested that we empty out our purses and record each and every thing we found inside… she assured us that these lists would be of great value someday. More than anything, lists like these give a window into the past. For example, wouldn’t you be curious what your grandmother carried in her handbag? Or wouldn’t it be amusing to read a list of what your mother found in the back of her closet when she was your age?

Foliage near Buckskin Gulch by Kanab, Utah

With Jana’s and Louise’s words in mind, I thought how much I would like a record of the list of what I am thankful for each year, so today I empty out “my gratitude purse” as a reflection.

Today is a holiday that I am still figuring out; I thought as I got older, holidays would become mundane. Instead, I cherish the (sometimes uncomfortable) change that each year brings.

Today, I am particularly grateful for Maya Angelou’s wise words, “When you know better, you do better.”

It is often too easy for me to dredge up all the guilt I feel about my past actions, both as an imperfect family member celebrating with those I love or as a white liberal in the United States who has swims in the sea of white supremacy. I am trying something new for me now. I am trying to give myself permission to have failed in the past, and work towards creating a more present life instead of just staying stuck in the guilt.

Today, I am grateful that I can gain new knowledge which helps me to do better. I’m grateful for the amazing books I have had the time and space to read this year.

I am grateful for the opportunities I have to go back to school to study something completely new at Gateway Community College.

I am grateful for the Mindfulness seminar I am finishing up this month and the, dare I say, God-given teachers I have met along the way.

I am grateful for Buddhism opening up to me in a whole new way.

I am grateful for being given new ways to engage in my ward that leave me feeling at ease in a way that I wasn’t sure would ever be possible.

I am grateful for friends who love me as I change.

I am grateful for a spouse who loves me as I change and to save our relationship, does his own really difficult work to change with me.

I am grateful for family members who love me and work on our relationships as we fumble to show our love for each other.

I am grateful for social media that allows me to keep in touch with so many friends.

I am grateful for social media that introduces me to new communities and friends I would never have met otherwise.

I am grateful for the Exponent II community, for the special space we share…where we can bring our burdens and our joy as well as where we learn to speak our concerns when we see problems in the community and solve them together.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your dear ones. Please let us know what you are thankful for.


EmilyCC works for a national non-profit and lives in Phoenix, Arizona with her spouse and three children. She is a former editor of Exponent II and a founding blogger at The Exponent.

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1 Response

  1. Caroline says:

    This is lovely, Emily. I love how your “gratitude purse” gives us a glimpse into who you are and how you are changing. I have so many things to be grateful for, but I’ll mention two. I’m grateful for my sustaining relationships with friends and family, relationships that persist even as I evolve and change, and I’m grateful for audiobooks/NPR/podcasts. I absolutely love having interesting things to listen to as I go about the more mundane aspects of my life.

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