As Thanksgiving leftovers were finally packaged and stored, and the last load of dishes was cycling, we treated ourselves to a little quiet time. We spent a little time just appreciating all that is good as we reflected on how much we enjoyed hosting our family and how grateful we are for our health and all of the wonderful people in our lives. While we frequently give thanks, we realize that we could be just a tad more grateful. We are surrounded with so much wonder and so many blessings, so we vowed to intentionally practice more gratitude.
We missed family members who were not able to join us – siblings, nieces, nephews and cousins. We missed our niece's husband Peter, a marine who is deployed. His service to our nation and the service of hundreds of thousands of other young men and women who also missed Thanksgiving with their families is appreciated. We missed family members who had passed. We fondly remember sharing Thanksgiving feasts when they were with us. We missed the traditional long walks at the family farm to earn, or work off, our Thanksgiving desserts.
Brother Joe, who could not be with us, shared Thanksgiving reflections with the family by email. He reminded us of his son Jim's favorite way of thinking about being born in the United States. Jim puts it this way: if you are an American, you were born on third base, and you didn't have to hit a triple to get there. It's so easy to lose track of that blessing. Joe challenged us to find ways to be thankful during trials and difficulties.
As humans, we all experience loss, problems, disappointments, exhaustion and fear on a fairly frequent basis. Today might be tough for you. You might feel dread or anxiety about the days to come. You might find yourself thinking, "If only I could get through this challenge or that situation: once this deal is done, this project is behind me, this class is over." Those moments are your life. Don't wish them away. Don't waste them.
But what about all the other stuff that happens to us, through us and around us? The stuff we don't like. The stuff that impacts us, or those we care about in harsh ways. Can we find a way to be thankful in and around those circumstances? And if so, how might that benefit us and those we love and care about?
This year we made a Thanksgiving resolution – we resolved to be more tuned in and appreciative of the many blessings surrounding us. We further resolved to be grateful in the more difficult times. Please consider joining us in accepting Brother Joe's Thanksgiving challenge.