Thankful: conscious of benefits received, pleased, grateful, glad that something has happened or not happened, that something or someone exists, relieved, aware, appreciative
благодарно, reconnaissant, אסיר תודה, grato, 감사한, riconoscente, agradecido, 感謝している, dankbaar, ευγνώμων, 感激
Depending on where you live, “thankful” is not only expressed differently; it’s felt differently. Many of us have the privilege of being thankful for people who love us, good health, a career (or retirement), or a roof over our heads. Many others are thankful for just one day of non-violence, shelter from the cold (or heat), or a medical facility even remotely close to them, someone to give them anything to eat.
In the fast-paced lives we’ve created, we rarely stop, breathe, and reflect long enough to be thankful. We often have great intentions because we know how fortunate we are, but— despite that—this is the time of year, many of us go into overdrive attempting to create “perfection.” “Perfect” looks different to all of us, but there are some commonalities. We clean, worry, stay up late making lists, cook, bake, overspend, and try to impress—without it looking like it was any effort at all. We’re more concerned with getting to the store for that special sale than we are with staying at the table, talking to someone we love. We try to make up for all the disappointments we’ve had over the years—the times our holidays didn’t look like a bucolic scene from “Currier & Ives”. The funny thing is we often miss the point.
Like many people, Larry and I have a”what needs to get done before the holidays,” list. There is, however, lodged in my brain what my husband calls the “stealth list,” with all the possible things I would like to do if only I could make the time. hmmmmm……..
Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes, “We pray for the big things and forget to give thanks for the ordinary, small (and yet really not small) gifts.” I think the ordinary but not small gifts are what make up our lives. A lot of us pray when we’re in challenging places but forget to pray with thankfulness and gratitude for all we have every day.
Over the years, I’ve been encouraged to keep a gratitude journal. I’ve done it from time-to-time but never with real commitment. But, it should be one of the easiest things for me to do because I have so much to be thankful for: a strong connection to God, a faith community that honors my spirit, a husband who believes in me, wonderful daughters, grandchildren, and dear friends who I’ve known for fifty years and for only a few years; friends who are real with me, understand me, hold me accountable, cry in front of me and let me cry with them and will drop everything if I need them. I have a home that’s a safe place, plenty to eat, heat to keep me warm in the winter, health, abilities, a place to live with beautiful trees and birds chirping outside my window, and the luxury of reading, thinking and expressing myself. I have so much.
When we look back on our lives, we won’t regret spending time with God, in community with other people, or in quiet time connecting with our spirit—the essence of who we are. And, despite knowing, writing, and teaching that, I have much work to do.
I hope that, as this year winds down, we all slow down enough to just be.
Be full of thanks.
May this season of love be just that.
©2017 peace full home™/intentional living