Giving Thanks

A dear friend of mine lost her cat companion Marmaduke last Thanksgiving. It makes me more aware of all the subtle layers that come with this holiday—we can be appreciative in the midst of our grief, happy to have the memories even when they are raw, and sometimes a bit stressed about not being unequivocally cheerful on this day.

I have a personal Thanksgiving tradition of sitting down and listing all the things that I am grateful for. Typically at the top of my list are the many subtle kindnesses of friends and strangers alike. Especially and particularly I am deeply appreciative of those kindnesses that are extended to me when I am hurting, for whatever reason.

So I sent my friend a card, and thoroughly understand that she doesn’t want to celebrate. I would encourage you to reach out in whatever way you can to those that you know are conflicted at this time. Perhaps it is the first Thanksgiving after the death of a loved one. Perhaps it is the first time the next generation hosts and cooks. Perhaps it is the first time a child will not be at home for the holiday. Whatever the reason, if you see pain that you can comfort, try to do so! Even if it just means a smile and gentleness in the face of grumpy stress.

Perhaps NEXT year, you’ll be on someone’s gratitude list!

posted by Bea Rigby on Tuesday, Nov 20, 2007