Every morning for several years now, I’ve jump-started my day with my much-required-coffee and writing in a gratitude journal all that I am grateful for from the prior day.
I believe that almost every day provides some thing or things to reflect on that I should not take for granted. And starting each day with gratitude is a way to establish a positive attitude from which to launch.
Consider for your list:
· The person who was up earlier than you to be at their appointed job to take your order for early breakfast or coffee at your favorite bistro or fast-food drive-thru.
· The computer that connects you to heartfelt blogs.
· The beauty of flowers or trees you can view from your home or on a commute.
· Your good health.
During this holiday week, I am grateful for many memories of Thanksgiving celebrations with the numerous relatives I visited during my youth when my mom’s family all gathered with each other at one of their homes. Several Thanksgiving gatherings hold distinctive memories: The foot of snow we cousins played in while the adults wondered how we were going to get home; the pecans we gathered and cracked open on an unusual warm November day; the smell of delicious food cooked by four other households; abundant laughter and conversations filling the house.
In my earlier married years, we gathered at one of my husband’s siblings’ or parents’ home with the tradition of the nieces and nephew dressed up as Indians and pilgrims acting out a play, providing their simplified version of the earliest Thanksgiving meals. (None of them went on to be actors, but it was a sweet tribute.) The adults, while eating dessert, took turns expressing what we were thankful for.
During each Thanksgiving, God or Jesus was brought into the meal by way of a grateful Thanksgiving prayer as we blessed our gathering and food. The, not very broad, religious diversity consisted of: CBF Baptist; Southern Baptist; used-to-be-Catholic-not certain-what we-are now-believer; a peculiar Pentecostal; and there was a relative who converted to Judaism. With all celebrations, none of us held our preferred religion in higher regard or considered how we might be different. We were family members gathering with each other. Young cousins played together. The aunts and uncles talked a lot. Aunts organized the many dishes into categories of turkey and ham, side dishes, and desserts. Had we stopped to reflect we would have realized, all these actions were prayers of gratitude that we were all together.
Holidays are reminders of what once was. And for many, the loss of what was is difficult. This will be a very different Thanksgiving for me. For the first time ever, we will not travel to family. My mother-in-law, mother, and father all passed in 2020. To be clear, I am not in a state of grief. Well, not at the current moment. I may (well, to be honest, I expect I’ll) experience moments of grief during this holiday. What I am is reflective and a bit nostalgic. The memories that pop into my head are mostly good ones. Families have their imperfections, but all those years of coming together was a togetherness, imperfect as it might have been, that reminded me I am part of a unit of many people. Through the years, some family members I saw every year. Some merged in and out to visit as their busy lives permitted. Some called, and we passed around the phone to say hello. My memories remind me, I am part of a tribe of my immediate family, and the family I married into comprised of numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, and nephews. And although we are all on different paths of life and celebration now, I am grateful for all the many celebrations that bonded me to them and them to me.
During this holiday season, whether you are with family, or friends that feel like family, I hope you can reflect on sweet memories, and the making of new memories lessens the grief that may be experienced during the holidays.
What small thing(s) are you able to be grateful for– right now?
Maybe go visit your favorite bistro or fast-food drive-thru and tell your server, you are grateful they are there to serve you.
P.S. I am grateful you took the time to read my blog.
One thought on “Thanksgiving Gratitude”
So beautifully written. I loved this. …putting thoughts into words is such a talent. ❤️D this. Thank you for sharing.