Giving thanks. A simple effort often made complicated by our seemingly never ending need for more. The way the negative tries to crush the positive. And what of being grateful for the negative? The things that make us stronger. Give us hope for the future and propel us to strive for more, for better. And so, the cycle begins again…
I know I have much to be thankful for. Even during the darkest moments, I have been aware that still, I am so very fortunate. A roof, a meal, a healthy child. Family and friends that love me and I love in return. Doing what I love. Travel. The list is endless if you think about it. And although there are things that I wish were different and times where I am a whinging, ungrateful and selfish brat, it is usually a passing glance that comes and goes. Yes, it creeps back, but if I use all the good to block it then it becomes more manageable.
It is in our nature to be dissatisfied, it is what keeps us moving forward. You cannot understand, the joy without the pain, the hunger without be satiated, the loss without having loved. Another birthday lining my face, but I am glad to celebrate another year when some I know did not get that privilege. The extra pounds that creep in from having an endless supply of food, that so many are denied. The aches and pains that remind me of all the wonderful adventures I have lived. Winnie the Pooh says it quite nicely, ‘how wonderful I have something that makes saying goodbye so difficult.’ So, we too, need to look on the bright side more often. Being grateful and acknowledging it, is a sure way to bring peace and joy to the dark times.
Growing up in the US, Thanksgiving was always a special time. While much of the joy came from football and parades and too much stuffing, it was the joy of family and friends that made it special. When you look back and see those that are now missing from that table, you realize the true importance of not only being grateful for those in your life, but, also, for never missing an opportunity to tell them how much their presence in it means.
People change, grow apart or simply fade away, but they all touch our lives in some way and I believe are put on our path for a reason. Maybe their time with us is just a moment or a season or a lifetime, but it is a sad regret to look back and think they might have been happier to know how much they truly meant to us. ‘I love you’ is carelessly tossed about today, but unlike the Eskimos who have many words for snow, we use one word to describe intensity of feeling in its many forms. Unless you are a wordsmith who enjoys crafting lyrical prose, I love you, you’re special to me, I value our friendship- are all good options. Although, today it will more than likely be an emoji, a photo or a 9 second video!
I have had the opportunity to spend a couple of my Thanksgivings in the UK sharing the feast with those who do not celebrate this holiday. While it seemed strange at first, given the reason for the holiday, I realized that being thankful is something we all can do. Even if a small can of pumpkin cost £6! But I had pumpkin pie as I have for many, many years, so I was grateful…see how easy it is!
And I have gained other holidays, too. Ones that were not familiar to me: Bonfire night, St David’s Day, Boxing Day, St Dwynwen’s and Miner’s fortnight. New experiences, new traditions. New memories. Different faces at a different table, but home and family nonetheless.
The year has flown by and soon it will be Christmas and the start of a New Year. I am not big on the whole resolution thing, but perhaps I will resolve to be more thankful next year. Ah, but why wait for January 1st, I think today is a fine day to give it a shot, don’t you?