As we prepare to gather tomorrow with loved ones in a celebration of thankfulness, I’ve taken some time to reflect on the act of giving thanks…
When I was a child, giving thanks on Thanksgiving meant picking out the one thing I was most thankful for and then squirming in my chair as I waited for it to be my turn to announce it to the family, secretly hoping that my brothers or cousins wouldn’t say it first. Giving thanks was about giving the right answer – the one that would please mom, dad, and grandparents. I’m thankful for my family. I’m thankful for our house. I’m thankful for our pets. I’m thankful for my friends at school.
In early adulthood, waiting my turn in the same chair, the focus shifted from pleasing the elders to a deeper reflection of what was truly significant in my life. Giving thanks was about putting my finger on what was most important to me – what I cared about most in the moment. I’m thankful the university accepted me. I’m thankful I got the job. I’m thankful he proposed. I’m thankful we saved enough for the down payment.
After the births of my children, hosting the feast in my own home, my perspective further evolved. Giving thanks was no longer a checklist of items organized in my mind – it was a bouquet of emotion deeply felt in my chest. Intense wonder, joy, awe and love resonated from my heart as I gazed around the table at the faces – young and old – of those I loved.
And the waves of time persist, continuing to smooth out my rough edges and pulling me toward maturity. Shattering loss, heartbreak, and a brush with mortality became the resistance that spurs growth and a newfound strength. Giving thanks is no longer an activity reserved for the fourth Thursday of November – no longer about giving the right answer, or creating a list, or even about experiencing a profound feeling – it’s the lens through which every new day is experienced.
May you always view the world around you through the lens of gratitude – from the smallest tickle of warm sun on your face and food in your belly, to the deepest delight of family, love and legacy.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours,
PS: Have you downloaded my three best Holiday Recipe books yet? As my gift to you I’ve put together my favorite holiday recipes to be enjoyed during this special time of year. Feel free to share this link with others who would enjoy it!