I was running a Thanksgiving day race this morning with my friend Bobbi. While we were trotting along she told me a funny story about a friend of hers welcoming some Indian friends to Thanksgiving by throwing open the door, enthusiastically saying “Welcome to America!’ and pointing the way to the shots.
Having had a friend who worked in the wine business, I realize that alcohol is a big seller at Thanksgiving. It struck me as ironic….we set aside this day to remember what we’re grateful for, but then many of us cover up that remembrance with enough alcohol that we can’t remember what we were originally grateful for. Or, maybe we don’t think we have much to be grateful for so we drink to make ourselves feel better.
I’ve started a tradition with myself that every year at my birthday I write down something new that I’ve learned that year. In a few short months, I’ll post the forty life lessons that I’ve intentionally made a point of recording and referring back to. This year I’ve decided to think of the number of things I’m most grateful for right now. A sort of concentrated, mini, “One Thousand Gifts“, if you will. I want to remember to not forget to be thankful for all the good things that come my way, all the good people in my life, and the daily gifts that are handed to me – unexpected, undeserved, but hopefully not unnoticed.
I was also thinking about the word “grateful” and how saying you’re “full of grates” doesn’t really seem to work. Things that “grate” are things that rub us wrong, that irritate us, that are painful and maybe harmful. Maybe they are raspy and annoying, or maybe things that grate make us feel like we’re being run through a meat grinder and torn apart. But, the more I sat with this, the more I realized that some of the things that have grated me most…somehow…resulted in the things I am most grateful for in life. The grateful came from the grates. The good came from reframing the bad. Changing perspectives attracted new life.
I’m a big Josh Groban fan, and I love the song “99 Years”. In the bridge between the verses and chorus, there are some great lines that really speak to me:
So let’s look forward to you and I looking back
To 99 yearsOf nothing unspoken
With every day hoping
That when we feel broken
Our scars make us golden
I’m grateful for the things that hurt me in the past, the hard things I endured and still endure, all those that I loved and lost….because they have brought me to where I am. I have remarked to a few friends lately that it blows my mind how I can be a walking paradox: on one hand, I am deliriously happy all the time, and on the other, I’m a few feet from falling off the cliff of despair. But I am grateful for this paradox, and the ability to fully feel as a human, to embrace a vast array of emotions, and to still be thankful for it all.
Right now, I am so grateful for:
- 80 hours of labor and 3 C-sections that brought me three of the most precious little boys who are loving, kind, curious, and ready to fight for justice and fairness in the world and who still think that I’m a badass mom.
- Meeting people, at an ever-increasing rate it seems, who see who I am at my core and are willing to invest in me and my wild ideas and big hairy dreams.
- The people in my life who are healing me from all of my past traumas and shame…those who do so willingly and freely without asking for anything in return.
- Yats, and the fact that they stay open late enough so that I can get a fix even after a long shift at work.
- My silly little dog Charlie, who chews on everything and everyone, but is always so delighted to see me.
- The turquoise paint a friend gifted me that transformed my bathroom walls.
- Richard Rohr, who unknowingly broke open my soul and let the light in….or maybe, showed me how to let the light that was already in there, out.
- How my mom still comes to visit me in my dreams.
- How I’m not afraid anymore.
- How I found a home in Indiana when I thought leaving Boston was going to kill me.
- Eckhart Tolle, Byron Katie, Ken Wilbur, and all of the greats who help me stay optimistic about the world and humanity.
- How life is so much bigger and richer and deeper than I once imagined.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone…..I’m ever grateful for all who take a few minutes to read my musings and quirky views. You are very welcome here.