Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday on social media. I love reading about what and who my friends love and being surrounded by gratitude for a whole 24 hours. I know that the Thanksgiving we celebrate, all light-hearted and cheerfully, is not exactly the same sentiment that the day actually marks, but somehow history has transpired to give us a day to acknowledge gratitude annually, and I am here for it.
A spirit of gratitude is one of the things that initially drew me to E. On our first date, in fact, it was a topic of conversation. He was the very first person I’d ever been on a date with who talked about the “practice of gratitude.” I was intrigued. It was even a whole season before Thanksgiving.
What does that mean? What does it look like to practice gratitude?
To me, it means allowing the good to cut through the tough, the imperfect and the painful. It means looking at the very thing that is causing pain, and instead of wishing it away, being grateful for however it is serving you while you work out the kinks. It means holding space for the frustrating and digging beneath it for the miraculous. It means coming home from a beat-up day at work and still saying “I have a job, we have what we need, and I am grateful.” It means believing that everything you have was once everything you wanted.
Can’t you just feel it? Can’t you feel how it cuts through the pain and allows the sun to shine just a bit? It isn’t a remedy, but man is it a soother. It lifts your eyes from the floor, encourages hope and offers perspective.
Gratitude isn’t our default though…and that is why E called it a practice that July.
Imagine if next Thanksgiving marked a year of practicing gratitude. That in every day, we thought about what and who we are grateful for and, even better, we told people that they are on our list on other days of the year. I have to believe that changing our thoughts might just change our circumstances, because the mind is powerful and we have the ability and gift to make our worlds brighter, by something as simple as gratefulness. This doesn’t mean resigning to the fact that this is as good as it gets, and some days gratitude is really difficult, but it frees a space in your mind and heart for happiness alongside each step.
Grateful to and for you!