The attitude of gratitude. It’s a powerful emotion. There’s plenty of that to go around this weekend, so much to look forward to and so much to be thankful for… and plenty of other times if you really put your attention on it. Focus on it and it changes everything.
On the drive to work Friday morning, I was thinking about the weekend ahead. A quiet Friday night dinner at home with family, a Saturday full of celebration, for our close friend’s son’s Bar Mitzvah, the BIG game – Ravens vs Patriots Sunday night and the chance to share that moment with friends and because of the power of social media, to share it with not only an entire community, but the world. And then there’s my oldest daughter, Sophie, and her soccer game. It’s the “hat trick”, focus on the Big Three each day, or even each weekend and your mind is altered in ways you can’t imagine. Life becomes the ride you know it can be.
So how cool can life get? Very… if you let your thoughts go there. I can do it. It’s easy. I mean, there’s some serious mojo at work here just this weekend. First up, the Bar Mitzvah for Jake Carswell, the son of our dear close friends. We have the privilege of living in a tremendous neighborhood with people who have truly become our extended family. Friends are the family you meet along the way. That sign posted in our neighbors’ home stays with me and I am reminded of it, every time we have the opportunity to be in each others presence. It’s a blessing quite like no other. I hope some of them are reading this right now, because I can’t thank you enough for always being there in good times and in tough times. Today, we get the chance to celebrate one of the good times that remind us all why we even exist – to appreciate the joy our children bring to our lives, with prayer and quite a party. And the cool thing is, it’s a shared experience and I know it. Just the other day I had the opportunity to enjoy a professional lunch with one of our neighbors and she easily and succinctly described to my business partner about the ‘hood and her gratitude for the experience of this neighborhood “family. It was unsolicited and it was special. It’s rare air indeed to be present in this community, but hearing your neighbor and friend else say it out loud and mirror your thoughts exactly, helped to cement those emotions. What a cool moment.
Today and tonight we’ll take it all to the next level. And it’s what life is really all about, if you let it. It’s not about the stress of the dress code tonight, as a matter of fact it’s a “tailgate party”, you get to wear whatever jersey or t-shirt you want. All that does is take it up another notch… the emotions, the energy are all that much higher when it’s a relaxed atmosphere and parents and kids alike get to party their asses off…. neighbors, friends…. family. If you let it in, it takes you to place and moments in time you’ll remember all your life. It’s history in the making.
And the synergy doesn’t stop there. What were the chances a tailgate bar mitzvah party takes place the night before the event – Ravens vs Patriots. The AFC Championship rematch. Just a few weeks back it looked like nothing like this would ever happen. Then comes the Mile High Miracle and all is right with the world (at least in Baltimore) again. Ya want gratitude? It’s not tough to dig deep on this one. I firmly believe that the Ravens are “all in” for one singular purpose, showing their gratitude for their team and spiritual leader, Ray Lewis. I transcribed the words from his post-game news conference last week (Rare Air: Observations of Life) and they are powerful. How can you not want to go for it for this guy? He might not be perfect, I mean who is, but he gets it, this is more than just about a game. Believe that and you can accomplish anything. The miracle happened last week, because everyone bought into the appreciation, dedication and devotion to that one purpose – extending Ray’s career, one more game, one game at a time. The power of gratitude the whole team feels for what Ray Lewis means to them, is overwhelming. If love is unstoppable, the power of gratitude can move your forward in ways you can’t imagine. The Ravens are proving it and it is special to watch. And watch we will.. in community, together. For those who scoff at sports, just look at the spirit, the energy and the goodwill a big game can garner, with those you are close to and those you have never met. Time to take off the critical cap and slip on a team hat. Just enjoy the ride.
Which brings me to what, for all intents and purposes, is really the big moment of the weekend, because it gets me as close to the core of what drives the power of gratitude for me every day. It’s Sophie’s soccer game. In its simplicity, it’s just one game in a bigger season and it’s smack dab in the middle of the mayhem of a much bigger weekend, high noon on Sunday. An hour that could easily be lost down the river of a much bigger ocean of events over the next 48 hours. But if I focus on it, it takes me to the greatest place of all. Because for 60 minutes the piece of my heart she owns gets transferred out onto that indoor field. The life I helped create takes a slice of mine right out there with her. Last week the kid scored a goal in the first game. Not too shabby. But goal or no goal, that doesn’t really matter in the end. If I do it right, pay attention and appreciate the hour on Sunday, I will get more from those 60 minutes than anything else that happens over this special weekend. And, as I have described there’s plenty to be thankful for already. It’s watching that soul, that spirit, that human I had a part of helping bring into this world go out there and try to be a little bit more, physically, mentally and emotionally, much more than if she is just sitting on the sidelines. She’s in the game and that’s what it’s all about. Just get in the game. I’m in… all in.
The power of gratitude. And my big three, at least for this weekend. Give it a shot. Believe me it took a lot longer to write this, than it does for you to think of yours. But it changes everything.
Until next time, thanks for taking the time.