Last month I wrote about forgiveness. It is a tender subject with me. Taking a long time for me to appreciate just how powerful the word and the action truly is.
We can say, “I’m sorry” and mean it, or not. We can lie to someone else, and suffer the consequences. Or what is even worse, we can and do lie to ourselves. Sometimes that takes years to heal from, if we ever heal at all.
Now it is the last day of November. The flavor of the month is Thanksgiving. My favorite holiday. It requires no shopping for gifts, knowing sizes, budgets or preferences. The only stress is to decide what dessert is going to be baked first.
I try to have my grocery shopping done several days ahead of time, and over the years I’ve gotten pretty good at it. No longer do I panic when I run out of evaporated milk, or aluminum foil. I also do not try and make everything on one day – years ago I thought that was how you were supposed to prepare the mega meal. Now I know, do the desserts the day before and have more fun and less fuss.
For several years I thought the focus was the meal – going all out with everyone’s favorite side dishes, which of course made for wonderful leftovers. Which is why I always get a bird much to big – not for Thanksgiving Day itself, but the days that follow. Leftovers and the variety of things you can do with them is also part of the celebrating.
Now I know, it is not the turkey, the side dishes or even the gazillion calories in the desserts. It is the people we surround ourselves with on Thanksgiving Day – or the day before, or weekend after. It is the feeling of being grateful.
Of course we miss those we’ve lost. We miss those who simple cannot attend our dinner. We wish for a bigger home that would hold everyone we like, love, admire, enjoy and make us laugh.
Yet it is gratitude that makes us slow down – enjoy the moment – the meal – with the people we surround ourselves with and love very much.
Gratitude for those who helped pay for, stood in line for, carried from the trunk for preparation of the meal. It is those who keep us company when we cook, the taking turns around the table is our tradition of grace to say what we are thankful for. It is those who take our plate, load a dishwasher or rinse a cup. We are thankful for all of this – but gratitude I believe is different.
Gratitude for what we have – to be mindful and want what we have. There are so many who have much less who make due. Who decide if they are going to appreciate it, or be miserable for things they don’t have. Gratitude is wanting what we have – and when you do – everything seems a little more wonderful.
Gratitude is appreciating the small gestures. The person you hoped would clean the kitchen did not. But they cleared the table – hey, it was something that wouldn’t have happened if they were not there. So be grateful for all the gestures, not just the ones you think should happen. They all add up to make a difference.
This also includes people who serve you outside your home – be grateful to the waitress, the clerk, the grocery bagger – they are people, some are hard working, some are not – who am I to judge? But I will tell you one thing – I know I’ve made a difference when I receive a smile, and eye contact, a nod of appreciate goes a long, long way. Longer than leftovers.
So here is the last day of November. I am grateful I am here, my family and I are healthy, we still have family who are in their 80’s, 90’s and even 100 years old! We have food on the table, a roof over our heads, friendship and love. You can’t get much better than that. For all of those gifts I am grateful.
Oh, and one very important person/people I am deeply grateful for:
YOU! I am very, very grateful to those who read and share my thoughts. Who are following me, or walking beside me on this journey, some even laughed and cried along with me.
I am very, very grateful.
Breathe Deep, Think Peace