As a Mormon bisexual man I live in the "other circumstances" mentioned in The Family: A Proclamation to the World where "Death, disability or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation."
Me: Good morning, Mibes. You look deep in thought.
Mibes: I was just thinking about you. It's a deep subject.
Me: I've got less depth than you think.
Mibes: I doubt it. For example what have you been thinking about since we talked?
Me: Just how I can look better in the New Year.
Mibes: The truth.
Me: Really, my appearance. It's true enough. I've been thinking improved fitness. A little. A few thoughts about it.
Me: To be honest I keeping returning to the old subject of gratitude. That's mostly what I've been thinking about.
Mibes: How so?
Me: That it's a theme or a strand that runs through my life with both positives and negatives.
Mibes: What do you mean?
Me: That when I've had the mindfulness to be grateful, I've been happier and more productive, and also that when I've let my let my gratitude get blurry, that's when I've felt less hopeful, even at one point hopeless. Feeling that my life was without hope, without purpose. That it was all a mistake. But it's hard to think that way when I consider all there's been to be grateful for.
Mibes: But isn't that all about looking back? You're not looking ahead.
Me: Yes and no. When my gratitude is in focus, I think it's like a panorama stretching across time. I can see how the past has contributed to where I am now and how I might build on that for the future.
Mibes: Like a timeline that stretches from your birth to the present. And beyond that.
Me: Well I hadn't thought of it as a timeline, but that works. Yes. You're right. It starts before my birth. If I'm seeking to be glad about my life, it only seems fair to be glad about what led up to it.
Mibes: You're parents being in love?
Me: Yes, but way beyond that. I like music, not just because my parents liked it, but because it's part of the human and bird world.
Mibes: Birds? You're all over the place this morning.
Me: I don't know. I'm just guessing that some of the first human singing may have been in imitation of bird calls or other animals. Maybe to lure pray with a false mating call. And that music developed from those primitive sounds.
Mibes: Ah music and mating.
Me: And things that go with it. Pair bonding. Oxytocin.
Mibes: So you're saying you're grateful for your mammalian hormones?
Me: Those and millions of other things. The cells of my body. Water. Air. Food. Basic stuff.
Mibes: Just those surface things.
Me: Ok, you got me. Yeah, I've been thinking about big picture stuff like that. And seeking to be aware of that big picture, and grateful for my snowflake in that snowstorm.
Mibes: Your snowflake?
Mibes: How you're one-of-a-kind like a snowflake?
Me: Yes but all the other snowflakes, too. Being a part of this human family. This human mammalian family. Here on this planet together. And all the millions of lives and millions of years that are part of that history.
Mibes: I'm glad you can find gratitude in that.
Me: And gratitude for you, for our friendship. For the bond we share.
Mibes: I'm grateful for that, too. (Giving me a hug.) And you look better when you're smiling like that.
Me: Yup, I'm all about appearances. That's about it. That and that I love you, Mibes. More than you know.
Mibes: I love you, too. Even more. Even more than you know. Keep looking for those panoramas.