I always stand in awe of people for whom gratitude is a natural response. It’s Thanksgiving, which means we focus on giving thanks, which means we focus on gratitude. Some people are just grateful by nature. A spirit of gratitude permeates their presence. Maybe this is you.
This is not me. I wish it was, but it’s not.
I don’t know if I should be telling you this, since my vocation suggests that I should be grateful in all circumstances. Honestly, I’m not. Gratitude does not come easily to me. One might say, it’s a growing edge.
I am working on getting better at it. I’m working on getting better at not only giving thanks but seeing that for which I am thankful. I desire to be a more grateful person. As practice, here are ten things plus a bonus, for which I find myself grateful for in this season of Thanksgiving.
I’m grateful that Sturgill Simpson and Chris Stapleton both released new albums. I remain in awe at those who are gifted enough to write and record music that moves and tells truth.
I’m grateful for the FRDNLY tv app. You see, we had a problem in our house. Earlier this year, we finally became cord cutters and moved to a variety of streaming services. Only problem, no Hallmark channel. No Hallmark channel, no cheesy Christmas movies. Mary Michael (and I guess me as well) would have missed cheesy Hallmark Christmas movies. FRDNLY tv app for a limited time- the whole suite of Hallmark channels- problem solved.
I’m grateful for church staff and congregation that has been flexible and encouraging every step of the way. Life is too short to work with people you don’t enjoy working with. Hey, church, we can be flexible.
I’m grateful for the writing of Isabel Wilkinson (Caste), Matthew McConaughey (Greenlights), President Barack Obama (A Promised Land) and Wright Thompson (Pappyland). Just finished or in process of reading or listening to these four wonderful books. Thank you for stories and lives that challenge, inspire, educate, and bring joy.
I’m grateful for new voices and ideas that emerged over the last year, especially the voices of people we have traditionally marginalized. These new voices have much to teach us. As enlightened as I would like to believe I am, I need to widen my circle.
I’m grateful for increased focus on mental health. The pandemic has exasperated the struggle so many have with their mental health. People are struggling and suffering with their mental health. Getting rid of stigma around mental health is a start, so that people can do what they need to receive the care they deserve.
I’m grateful for sunrises and sunsets. I’ll admit, I give far less attention to the rising and setting of the sun than I should. Lately, I have discovered what I’ve been missing. Both sunrise and sunset are often glorious. Now, why does the sun have to set so early in the winter.
I’m grateful for travel. Never again will I complain about traveling. I’ve always enjoyed travel, rather for work or fun (or a mixture of both). As a 7, it gives me new places and new experiences, along with the feeling of looking forward to something new and different. This time has given me new appreciation for the gift of being able to experience all kinds of different places. I also miss the Oatmeal at every Hampton Inn breakfast buffet. I’m sad that future generations will have no idea or memory of a buffet.
I’m grateful for family. We made the difficult decision not to travel to be with our larger family this Thanksgiving. I guess in the midst of a pandemic, it shouldn’t be that difficult of a decision. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. We will appreciate the next time we are together all that much more.
That being said, I am grateful for technology. Zoom family thanksgiving anyone? As we struggle to stay connected, think about how dire the struggle would be without technology.
Bonus: I’m grateful for pie. Some people like cake better, some people like pie better. Give me pie any day of the week and twice on Sunday. Thanksgiving is special because it means pie. Let’s eat.