Celebrate GratitudePosted: October 4, 2011
The phone rings and my 20-something grandson wants to know where I’m going for Thanksgiving and whether he will be included. I say I don’t know where I’ll go but I’m certain he’s invited and can we talk about it in a month or so?
So, the holiday conversations are already beginning. It seems to me that these conversations are as premature as the political nonsense on TV. Each year the primaries seem to come earlier and earlier and so do the questions of who is going to what house to be with which relatives and friends. Do we really need to make decisions so early? Worse yet, do we really need to talk about it for two months?
It seems to me that the minute the weather begins to change most of the people I know start talking about plans for that distant day called Thanksgiving. By the time Nov. 23 rolls around a thousand things may have happened. Someone in your family may win a million dollars on the lottery. Someone in your family may run away with the gardener. Someone in your family may get religion and become a missionary in Iceland. The list of possibilities is endless.
I want to put this sentence in caps. IT IS TOO EARLY TO TALK ABOUOT WHERE AND WHEN WE WILL EAT OUR TURKEY !
I love Thanksgiving. It is my favorite holiday of all. No firecrackers. No gifts in the wrong size. No hard-boiled eggs and no silly costumes. All that is required is a group of people you love (or at least like) and some food.
The most important thing of all is that it is a holiday built around my favorite spiritual practice – gratitude. I love it when my church has a turkey dinner the night before Thanksgiving and anyone who wants to tell what he or she is grateful for gets to share. One of my favorite memories in my long church history is the night a man in his late 70’s stood up in church and, in all innocence, told us all he loved his wife and he was very grateful he was still healthy enough to have sex.
What I don’t love about the holiday is that is seems to be a place where people play out their family politics. If Sally goes to Isabelle’s house, who will invite Sally’s sister, Mary? It seems that Mary once sued Isabelle’s brother in law, Gerry, over a real estate deal that went bad. Since Gerry and his wife will be at Isabelle’s, then Sally’s sister, Mary, cannot be welcomed. There are a million and a half variations of this family-political story.
The other thing about the holiday I can do without has to do with the menu itself. Do we hae to have a tofu turkey to appease the vegans? If Bernice and Harvey bring their favorite suet pudding, who will eat it? And then, there is the drinking.
Now that I think about it, I have a lot of alcoholics in my family group but there is absolutely no drinking. Everyone is clean and sober and I am very, very grateful for that.
That reminder of God’s Grace changes my need to rant like Andy Rooney. As I write, I remind myself that I have much to be grateful for. I could quit this and make a gratitude list. I would start with the health and welfare of all my clean and sober loved ones and toss myself into that magic circle. Then I might remember to be grateful that my grandson actually wants to spend Thanksgiving with me. My list is long and beautiful the minute I switch gears and think about what I have and in a heartbeat – I am truly grateful.
If I could wave a magic wand, I would give us all the gift of feeling gratitude in a heartbeat. Then I would wave it again and gives us all the ability to enjoy the holiday season because it comes around every year and we are here on Planet earth to enjoy and participate in life.
Next, I would wave my wand faster and farther and give us all the ability to celebrate Thanksgiving every day. It is a day that is all about gratitude and we can feel grateful whether we’re eating bananas and yogurt or BBQ beef sandwiches.
Since many of the people I know make gratitude a part of their spiritual practice, I don’t even need a magic wand. All I need to do is change my own thinking from the negative to the positive. “”God bless everyone of us,” said Tiny Tim.
What are you wearing for Halloween?
What am I grateful for in this minute?
Can I list 25 things I’m grateful for in 10 minutes?