This summer I have been swimming laps at noon at our local public outdoor pool.

It is so beautiful there.

Just a few folks swim; it is a well-kept secret.

Picture a large, clear, Olympic-sized pool,

our roof, a blue, blue summer sky with just a few puffy white clouds,

a touch of a warm breeze,

and the quiet sound of people swimming.

Some of the swimmers choose to walk their laps, however, rather than swim.

Often as I swim by them, I catch little bits of their conversation.

Here was one bit I caught the other day:

Walker #1 - Hey! So great to see you! How are you?

Walker #2 - Well, I'm here ... that's all I can say.

Walker #1 - Yea ... I guess it beats the alternative.

Me (under the water so no one could hear me)  - Are. You. Serious?

Now, don't get me wrong - I understand that some days aren't great.

Some days are hard.

Sometimes it really does feel like our experience of the day is just one step away from what we think it might feel like to be dead.

I am not a Pollyanna, and I certainly don't espouse silly, perky talk.

I despise it.

But, here we were ... in a swimming pool at noon! In the middle of a work day! The sun was out. The air was warm. And we were just swimming and walking and chatting and no one was forcing us to do anything else. We were well enough to move our bodies. We were well-fed enough to exercise. We had transportation. We had lungs breathing in beautiful clean air!

We were not being bombed.

We were not being imprisoned.

We were not starving.

We were not oppressed.

We were not fleeing for our lives.

"For the love of God", I thought, as I continued to swim ... "for the love of God, look around you,

realize how very blessed you are on this earth,

and practice, even on the hard days, being grateful."

It was a little mini-sermon I preached (silently) to the walkers, but also to my (sometimes ungrateful) self.

This all reminded me of Alice Walker's brilliant quote from The Color Purple:

“I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it.” 

Amen, Alice Walker, Amen ...

For what are you grateful today?

And how can you express that gratitude as others ask how you are?

 And for the love of God, don't piss God off!