The Present of Gratitude
With Thanksgiving upon us, I acknowledge my (fleeting) melancholy when I reminisce about all the Thanksgivings past when I was in a different location - closer to family living in Pennsylvania - when getting to family was around the corner, not across the country.
Five years ago, knowing it was our last Thanksgiving in our Pennsylvania home, we invited my side of the family (all 32) to gather for the first and last Thanksgiving meal in our 150 year old VERY DRAFTY, much loved farmhouse. (Previously, we ALWAYS went to my husband's family.) That Thanksgiving in 2014 was truly a magical day filled with joy, great food, laughter and tears, made even more special knowing that we were soon moving out west due to my husband's job relocation.
The next year we moved to California and had our first Thanksgiving with the four of us- my husband, two sons and myself - no other family or friends. I remember feeling sooooo depressed as I missed our families and all the noise, activity, laughter and discomfort we shared on past Thanksgivings. For my first, west coast Thanksgiving day, I was living in and missing my past...NOT appreciating my PRESENT.
It was unquestionably one of the hardest days of my life since losing my parents to sickness and some other not-so-good days thereafter. I longed for the closeness, laughter and chaos of my siblings, in-laws, nieces and nephews.
As the years moved forward along with our stay in California, and as Thanksgivings came and went, I opened up to the truth and understanding that while loud, robust Thanksgivings had become a memory of the past (for now), my present holds a deeper experience of, and gratitude for, the closeness of my boys (who have since turned into young men) and my husband, as we all sit together as a foursome in good health, with food and home and warmth and so much love on Thanksgiving Days.
It took some time, and now I live most days knowing and understanding that the moment, the PRESENT, is truly all I have anyway. (And where the magic happens)
And so, if like me on that Thanksgiving Day, you're not noticing all the good in front of you right now (and yes, I too must remind myself from time to time)...I encourage you to look around and focus on ALL for which you ARE grateful...it IS ALL a GIFT.
I invite you to share this story on your Thanksgiving Day and ask yourself and everyone sitting at the table to declare out loud- at least three things for which all of you- are truly, deeply grateful and blessed.