Today has been a grumpy day.  My little girl has been grumpy – in bed too late last night and up too early this morning, plus she’s teething.  I have been grumpy – in bed too late last night and up too early this morning, but not teething (thank goodness).  Everywhere I look in my house, I’m surrounded by outstanding chores or tasks that need to be done, but I’m just too tired.  So, a glass of wine and some writing seemed to be in order.

There was a brief period of time today when I felt the opposite of grumpy – not sure what that is exactly, but I think I’ll call it “Grateful”.  We went out for lunch to an organic, vegan restaurant called Café Gratitude.   It wasn’t until we were seated with our menus that I remembered it was vegan.  My honey is the opposite of vegan – he threatened to leave us at our table and hop across the parking lot for what was advertised as Marin’s Best Burger!  But he stayed and we ordered.

The server, upon discovering it was our first visit, explained the whole organic/vegan thing to us, and instructed us on how to order from the menu.  For example, if you want the quesadillas (mashed black beans and some sort of tomato/tofu-cheese spread in a flax-seed tortilla), you say, “I Am Wise” (the name of the dish).  To which the server replies, “You ARE wise, today.  Good choice”.  And it WAS a good choice – served with a yummy cabbage slaw, fresh pico de gallo and some very tasty guacamole.  My dining partner was Trusting today, which was a good thing because his tamale and the salsa verde that came with it were also full of flavour.   

The servers and hostess were calm and friendly, and gave off very positive vibes.  I felt good being there.  And just spending time in a place where I had to say something good about myself to order my food made me feel more like the person I wish I had been all day.

So what is it about the atmosphere in a place called Café Gratitude that can make a person feel more grateful?  How can it be that just the presence of positive people can make such a difference?  Many years ago, Oprah made famous the idea of a gratitude journal – a book where you write, daily, about what you are grateful for.  And I think that concept is what answers my question.  Gratitude is something that needs to be practiced consciously.  Like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self control (Galatians 5:22), gratitude is not a state of being that is ever-present.  In order to keep it around, you need to choose to be grateful.  Just like sometimes – when you have an argument with your spouse, for example – you may have to choose to be loving or kind even if you don’t feel like it.  So when the server sets down your meals and says, “You are wise”, and “You are trusting”, it makes a person more conscious of those ideas, and maybe more willing to choose to emulate them. 

I don’t know – maybe I’m just grasping at straws today because being tired and grumpy feels like such a waste of a beautiful sunny day.  But whatever it takes, right? 

So, for the record…today I am grateful for:

  • A sweet baby who is rarely grumpy – today is the exception not the rule;
  • A loving husband who indulges my exploration into strange themed restaurants without too much complaint;
  • A new experience, which I hope to repeat with friends who are more into the whole organic vegan idea;
  • A sunny day; and
  • A reminder to be grateful, because I really do have so much going for me.

What are YOU grateful for today?