Unexpected Object of Gratitude

The answer wasn’t what we expected once, much less twice. Our International Friends Group has met weekly for a number of years. International post-graduate students, visiting professors, and their spouses who have come to the University of Southern Mississippi meet to perfect their English, learn American traditions, and form friendships.

My partner, who usually takes the lead in the discussion, recently decided to begin each session by having them answer the question, “What is something good that has happened to you this week?”

The first week, one of the women said, “I saw blue sky.” Seeing our surprise, she went on to explain the smog that regularly hovers in her home area of China.

The next week she started with the same question. One of the men who had been absent the previous week said, “I saw blue sky.” This time we were only surprised by the repetition.

The double reminder did start me thinking about how I assume skies are blue. Except for cloudy or rainy days, blue skies are routine in Mississippi – sometimes broken by fluffy white clouds – but beautiful either way if one pays attention. I normally take little notice of them ahead of me as I virtuously take my daily aerobic exercise with a couple of turns down and back up the hill in front of my house. I’m too busy looking to see how much longer I have to go to get to the top of the hill.

No more will I take this for granted. Now that this wonder has been called to my attention, I’m planning to lift my eyes and relish the sapphire sky that rises above forest green oaks and pines in my upward trudge. I’m thinking I might even add some briskness to my step in my thankfulness for blue.