It was my birthday yesterday. To say that I am grateful to be celebrating yet another one is an understatement considering ten years ago I was fighting a life threatening disease. And yet each day is a blessing. Nothing is ever guaranteed, no one can count on seeing another morning. This past week has been a difficult one for my country, my friends and my family. There is so much uncertainty and fear. The unknown always holds fear, there is no doubt. Yet I take this blessing of another day to be grateful for the things I do have and to count those as well.
Next week we celebrate Thanksgiving. I have felt saddened these past years that the significance of this celebration has become muddled with the great opportunity for businesses to sell lots and lots of products in one fell swoop in preparation of Christmas. The day after Thanksgiving holds the ominous title of Black Friday. Black Friday encroaches more and more into Thanksgiving each year to the point where stores open for business the evening of Thanksgiving Day. This has made me very sad. This day has been set aside for us to reflect and be thankful for all that we have in this very prosperous country. Instead many are focused on the what they can buy for the cheapest prices.
And yet that in itself is what many consider a blessing. And who I am to negate another person’s gratitude? But for me to really feel that this country has not taken, to paraphrase the infamous words of Bugs Bunny, a wrong turn at Albuquerque, I feel I must dig deep to remind myself of all that I am thankful for. Gratitude comes in stages. It comes in baby steps and in great leaps. In the silence and in the noise too. It is an attitude. One just never knows when it will appear and you have to feel grateful that it did at all.
I am grateful for life and grateful for time. For touch, feel and sight. For love and friendship even those lost ones. Life is a roller coaster. Childhood than high school then college then life, not necessarily in that order. Sometimes I was trying to navigate without a compass. Some things went so right and some so wrong. So grateful I got through safely to the age I am now with only a few scars. Oh baby it is a wild world indeed.
I am grateful for the joy and pain of parenting. Of bringing children into the world whom I could love and nurture and hover over and let go of and worry about and laugh with. Grateful for a husband and friend and partner for 34 years. Through hard times and good times and some bad times too. A lifetime and yet only a moment together. Fumbling through life holding onto each other. Grateful for his strength and love. I am grateful for the company of a cat for 15 years. His grace and beauty, his defiance. His heavy body draped across my lap for many moments of rest.
I am grateful for elders who have lived into their 90’s so that I could still feel like a beloved child when I was with them. Grateful for my tribe, for my brothers and sisters and cousins and friends. We are all in this together. For my children with their never ending lessons. For every sunrise and every sunset. For the chance to bake some cookies. And the tools to do so.
So grateful this horrible election is over even though it left a hole in my heart where my faith in humanity had been. Grateful for the time and the chance to heal that hole and find hope again. Grateful for the right to vote. For the time to heal wounds.
There are endless things I am grateful for, many which I will keep pressed between the pages of my secret heart. Despite all, I am grateful to enjoy the full advantages of the modern world to the point where I can stay tucked up warm in my bed the day after Thanksgiving while others choose to go out in the dark to get the weekend deals in their favorite stores. We all have a choice here while many around the world cannot choose what their day may hold. And so I send that out into the world and state that we all have a responsibility to uphold our brothers and sisters here at home and around the world and pray they are granted a good life too. I am grateful for all of my blessings even those in disguise. And I light another candle for myself today.