Thankfulness

Gratitude makes sense of our past,
brings peace for today, and
creates a vision for tomorrow.

~ Melody Beattie

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and it always is a nice time to reflect on gratitude.

I started my professional life as a rookie reporter which meant I began the day with the police report and obituaries before dawn. Not the most optimistic news to wake up to. The responses of two funeral directors have stuck with me for life.

One would greet me with: “Any day above ground is a good one.” Another, upon being asked how he felt that morning, said: “I got up and someone else didn’t.”

“The highest tribute to the dead is not grief but gratitude.”
~ Thornton Wilder

So I am grateful to wake up to a new day each day. Life is a precious gift, and waking up healthy is a blessing we often take for granted.

“Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.”
~ Thích Nhất Hạnh, (Peace Is Every Step)

I will always be grateful for the people in my life. Some are lifelong companions, and others were only meant to be around me for a chapter or a season. But those seasonal people taught me something, whether in a good way or as an example of how not to be.

“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”
~ Marcel Proust

After the “Tornado Outbreak”  we had on a recent Sunday, I considered all my possessions a lot. What would I take with me in case of evacuation, what did I want to protect from the elements? Seeing the aftermath of the tornadoes’ paths made me realize that shoving things in closets wouldn’t really matter. Still, I have spent the past decades gathering things that bring me joy and inspiration, and weeding out what doesn’t, and I am grateful for my possessions.

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not;
remember that what you now have
was once among the things you only hoped for.”

~ Epicurus

My home is my sanctuary and my workplace, and I treasure what is in it, replaceable or not. These material things don’t define who I am, but I appreciate the idea of them being a reflection of me. Yes, sometimes it feels like I might have too much clutter, but it is all meaningful in some way beyond the ‘stuff’ part of it.

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.
It turns what we have into enough, and more.
It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.
It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home,
a stranger into a friend.”
~ Melody Beattie

I am grateful to live where I live at this time. In spite of all the human rights work still to be done, as a woman it is better to be alive now than centuries ago. I have choices and opportunities, even if some of those involve choosing not to go somewhere at certain times.

Mostly I am grateful for spirit. We are all connected, and love and compassion prevails over ideologies. In moments of complete powerlessness that spirit of resilience and generosity and helpfulness has buoyed me and kept me from losing faith in the world as it is right now.

“In the end, though, maybe
we must all give up trying to pay back the people
in this world who sustain our lives.

In the end, maybe it’s wiser to surrender
before the miraculous scope of human generosity and
to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely,
for as long as we have voices.”
~ Elizabeth Gilbert, (Eat, Pray, Love)

Gratitude is powerful. Gratitude is grace.

May you be filled with love and joy and peace this Thanksgiving feast, whether you celebrate it surrounded by loved ones or in solitude.

“Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel
to say your nightly prayer.
And let faith be the bridge you build
to overcome evil and welcome good.”

~ Maya Angelou, (Celebrations)

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