It is the last day of November as I sit here capturing this thought. The Christmas lights have been officially lit on 'The Plaza' and the Mayor's Tree is aglow. The seasonal songs have long been playing on radio stations and in stores. How we do love to rush our holidays in this country!
Oh, I love the nativity and the carols and the coming snow and the twinkling lights and presents under the tree, too. But it is this holiday of food and family and parades and footballs games and gathering together that I am most thankful for.
Because? Because of the promise that Thanksgiving makes to all of us.
It is the one day that, all family strains and cares aside, we really do understand we are expected to stop and reflect and be thankful for everything in our life. Every wee thing. Every major thing. Everything.
And I am. Boy howdy, I am!
At a recent writing workshop we participants were given a list of journaling tools to help our writing juices flow. One of these tools is to keep a 'Gratitude Journal' in which we would write every day three things we are thankful for then answer why these good things happened to us. What did we do to bring these good things about? Then, once we understand what led to these, keep writing what else we are grateful for.
So, I wrote.
I am thankful for my family: For my mother, who prayed me into existence and who lived selflessly all her life for her children. For my husband who knows me better than (almost) any other human being on this planet. Who understands my passions and moods and need to GO! Who has loved me through the ups and downs of an often-tumultuous marriage and has stood by me when I needed encouragement and behind me (pushing or kicking) when I needed a little more. And for my children without whom I do not honestly know how I lived before. They are the reason I was born.
What did I do to deserve these precious people? This is a hard question to answer.
I lived and loved.
I am thankful for my healthy, strong body. I am incredibly aware that I am fit and strong despite my years. This isn't an accident. I spent plenty of years being not so fit and healthy, just getting by, getting on airplanes, going from one hotel and one company event and meal to another and not really paying much attention to the toll it was taking on my body.
Then one memorable day I was in Colorado traveling with my young children and husband and looking at the sign at the head of a mountain trail deciding if I 'had it in me' to make it up what had been warned was a 'strenuous' trail. I was saddened and dismayed that at the tender age of 40-something I was really questioning whether this trail was something I was capable of doing.
So, what did I do to bring this thing about?
I listened to my heart's desire and started walking.
At first I used my poor dog as an excuse to get me going. He walked with me until he just couldn't anymore and would lie down in the shade getting his second wind, looking at me pitifully to just, please, stop already! And I kept walking. Eventually I walked 60 miles in 3 days as part of a cancer awareness walk. Then I walked 27 miles in one day just to know I could. Now I am hoping to walk across my state of Missouri next year with a delicious band of Wild Women who will be walking across the U.S.A.
I am thankful for my mentors and teachers and friends. They have instilled in me my wish - my prayer - to speak and live my truth with courage and wisdom and love. They have encouraged me to use my outside, out-loud voice and not be afraid of what will come out. I thank you Diane and Orlando, David and Charlie and Jim. Thank you Kim and Jenny and Diane, Susan and Sheri and Helen. Oh, the list is so long and I pray that I have told you who you are!
What did I do to bring this 'good thing' about?
I listened and I loved and listened some more.
For enough days to say 'Thank You'.
It's really a great exercise. I recommend it to everyone.