This is the emotion that's dominant, as I sit here at the airport typing this.
I'm grateful that the white and red Air India plane is sitting placidly at the gate a full three hours before takeoff.
Grateful that I'm here to see it.
Grateful that I remembered to bring wool socks to wear with the sandals, so the feet don't get cold during the 22 hour trip to Bangalore.
Grateful to all of my subs for covering for me.
Grateful to the cat's foster parents' for watching him, and for their report this morning that Kirby has already used the litterbox and eaten some food - a sure sign that he's forgotten all about me (and will be just fine).
Grateful to Gridlife for watching the car and the plants and being the Keeper of the Keys.
Grateful for Mon'ca for handling the bills.
Grateful to my subs, who are covering my classes. And my bosses, for letting me leave.
And to the students, who are so kind (and gave unexpected gifts so sweet it made me cry).
There's no end to the gratitude.
I've been in a state of grace since the Maha Sadhana weekend at Chandra's, where I was shown such warmth and hospitality and genuine caring, not just about the well-being and health but about the most important thing of all - one's spiritual state. Words cannot express how humble and amazed and connected it made me feel.... makes me feel.
I'm also grateful to my former neighbor Anne.
When Ira turned me onto the building 14 years ago, she was the old crone of the place. "She's lived here 25 years," they told me.
She was always so kind to the cat, who would go down the back stairs and meow endless in front of her door.
Last year she told me that she'd let him in, and he'd sniff around, check the place out, and leave.
I was horrified, but she seemed delighted by his trespassing.
She had two cats when she moved in, but over the years they died.
I think she secretly gave Kirby some treats. How he loved to visit her.
One day some very fancy cat dishes appeared outside my back door
Kirby still goes down there and meows.
But I haven't seen Anne around lately. She walks with a cane, and the stairs are difficult.
A few weeks ago there were some strangers in her apartment. "How is Anne?" I asked.
"She's in a nursing home," they said. "The stairs."
"Please tell her I said hello," I said.
I couldn't stay and chat because I was on my way to class.
But why didn't I stop and ask where she was? Which nursing home?
Earlier this week there was a pile of junk in and around the back dumpster.
I called the landlord, and learned that it was Anne's stuff. "We had to vacate the apartment."
I felt a pain in my heart.
Because Anne is me, I am Anne.
She is my mother and she is my grandmother.
I remember the two-and-a-half dumpsters we filled with my mother's things when we cleaned out her house (this was after sorting through it, keeping some items and giving most of it away).
I remember arguing with my uncle (who owned the building) about my mother's taking too long to clear away my grandmother's things.
And I thought of Anne.
It's all the same, I thought. We're all the same.
And I thought of what Chandra said over the weekend, about how God slowly strips away the things that are dear to us until nothing is left, and we're forced to take notice of him.
And I felt very grateful indeed.