Okay, I’ll Keep Gratitude
Several weeks ago, I came across a Living Social deal for decorativewords.com and decided I wanted to decorate the walls of my new apartment with them. In addition to putting colorful, inspiring photos and artwork everywhere, I envisioned walls displaying what I hoped my living space and my life would be filled with. A positive “writing on the wall,” if you will.
So I looked through the online catalog of words and right away, I chose “love” and “peace.” With the coupon, I had enough money for one more. “Create” and “Inspire”—perfect for sitting atop my memoir materials shelf as tabletop words or for decorating the wall above my writing desk—were sold out, so I looked through the catalog again. The word that jumped out: abundance.
Oooh, I thought.
“I come that they might have life and have it more abundantly,” I heard.
“Yes. Abundance,” I said out loud. I checked out of the online store with love, peace and abundance in my cart and thinking about what my life would look like when living those words.
When my package arrived at work—I had it delivered to my office so I wouldn’t have to set my schedule to FedEx’s or UPS’s arrival window—I carefully opened the box to find three flat boxes, two short and one long one on the bottom. I opened the first. There was “love,” carved in thick, black, perfect cursive text with a thread-thin, red-orange line around the edges. The second revealed “peace” in the same font.
I smiled as I got to final box, the one I was most excited about. I was going into my 33rd year of life with this new apartment. I hadn’t been thinking of 33 as “The Jesus Year,” but I had remembered a friend’s encouragement from two years ago: “Just hold on for 33. It all seems shitty now, but I’m telling you, things will line up at 33.” Some things had me feeling like my friend’s prediction was dead wrong: Recent challenges on my job my boss and I thought we had conquered, a second back injury that’s all but destroyed nine months of steady recovery from the first one right at the time I was supposed to be back at 100%, a writing hiatus at the end of an expensive writing workshop, the absence of a writer’s agreement for a paid regular columnist gig set to start this month, the loss of 24 of my favorite CDs (I know, but the plan was to rip the music and upload to the phone rather than purchase mp3 versions of all of them, and some were my own or others’ compilations of hard-to-find music), more apartment expenses than I had bargained for and the end of all current romantic prospects. But I thought having “abundance” as the “writing on the wall” would remind me that what I wanted was coming.
So looking forward to love, peace and an abundant life in my 33rd year, I opened the final box.
“They sent me the wrong word,” I said. I held the box’s contents up for my boss to read: “gratitude,” in bold, black cursive.
“That’s something I need to see on my wall every day,” she said.
“Well I do, too, but it’s still not what I ordered,” I said.
My need to have gratitude, to be reminded every day to have it, was not lost on me. Because of all of the above, I was entering my 33rd year in a funk, and I had been praying for help in thinking positive during the second recovery process. I get it, God. I want an abundant life, but I have to have gratitude for the present first, I thought.
Nonetheless, I immediately sent Decorative Words’ customer service account an email letting them know I didn’t get what I ordered and that I wanted to send it back. (They still haven’t responded, so if you order from them, you probably shouldn’t count on good service.) Later I checked the website to make sure gratitude and abundance cost the same amount. I need gratitude on my wall every day, but I didn’t want to get ripped off, either. And yes, the cost of gratitude and abundance are equal, so I decided to keep gratitude.