Thanksgiving is a time of gratitude, of sharing a meal with friends and family, and of remembrance. I love everything about Thanksgiving from the warm autumn colors, the parades, the football games (well I could probably go without the football), the comradeship, and the food. Can’t forget the food.
This year we’re sharing Thanksgiving with our new friends. We’re having a huge feast which will include our spatchcock turkey, all the trimmings, smoked turkey breast, cornbread dressing, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, two pies…. ah…. food baby is on the way! I can’t wait to break bread and share this day with them.
Imagine if we carried that spirit forward into all of our days? What if we opened our hearts to living a life of gratitude and giving all year round? Charities require more help during the holiday season, but wouldn’t it be great if people gave to food pantries all year long? To homeless shelters? To (fill in the blank cause)?
I try to live a life of giving and service as well as one of gratitude. I admit, sometimes I have to dig deep for the spirit of gratitude when the clouds of loneliness, winter weather, and darker days descend. But I make the effort because if I can find something to be grateful for, then I can find a smidgeon of happiness in my day. A ray of light. And then I can carry that light into the world. And then maybe someone else’s day might be a bit brighter.
One trick I learned was to write down 5 things a day that I’m grateful for. For instance, right now I am grateful for my health (which is a huge one), my darling daughter’s spirit, my husband’s job security, my new friends, and my writing community. I could list of a lot more things to be grateful about, but you get the picture. Having positive things to be grateful for helps me smooth away the rough edges of the things I am sad about, or the things I miss right now.
Confession: No, I am not Polly Anna and always filled with sunshine. I do bask in the sun a lot (I am like a cat that way), but I have days where growling is preferred to purring.
We all struggle with our own inner demons and disappointments. It is in how we handle them and work through them, that we show the measure of our willingness to be lights in the world. When I practice gratitude, I realize how blessed I am and I can’t be grumpy anymore. Or maybe I just won’t growl as much.