Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving Week Thankfulness

 1. Part of growing up spiritually is learning to be grateful for all things, even our difficulties, disappointments, failures and humiliations.--Mike Aquilina (Love in the Little Things: Tales of Family Life)

2. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.--Melody Beattie

      A lot of people have been posting on Facebook this month something they are grateful for every day, between the beginning of the month and Thanksgiving day. It's a nice idea. And awhile back, I had planned to start doing as my niece tries to do, a "Thankful Thursday" post every week. Neither of those things has yet happened for me. My life, if nothing else, is not organized or structured nearly enough to help me accomplish those two things, but, maybe I'm thankful for that. I'm not sure. I WANT an organized, more structured life, but I'm afraid that it is really at odds with the creative and impulsive juices that flow through me and make me who I am. If it would mean sacrificing that, then I'm not sure I would be as happy with rote structure and routine as I think I would. Part of growing older is learning who we REALLY are, and accepting that, instead of fighting it.
     I have so many things to be grateful for, and far too often I don't think about them enough. I think I think about them more than many people, but not enough for my own good. This has not been an especially good year, in too many ways. It's been very stressful. And continues to be. AND, I know that the worst is yet to come, at SOME point. But, that doesn't mean it hasn't been a year without abundant blessings as well. It only means that I have been too caught up in the daily struggles to SEE my blessings as clearly as I have been able to other times. It also means, upon a little reflection and soul searching the past few days, that the things I think I could and should possibly be the MOST grateful for this year are not necessarily the things that stand out most clearly. What I am MOST thankful for, though, is that I am beginning to be able to look at some of those difficulties and challenges and times of pain and frustration, now or in the future, as actual blessings.  THAT change in attitude and view point is a sea change for me, and although I'm still a bit shaky on the ideas and concepts of it all, I am grateful that it appears to be coming into focus in shades of greys, with even a pink streak here and there, instead of all blackness, as it has seemed previously. The hinting of light, or promise of light, even in the midst of darkness, is a thin string of hope, and what could we possibly be more grateful for than hope?  Without it, I am nothing at all, and of no use to anyone, least of all myself.
     So - every day blessings? Children, family, employment, friends, food, shelter, warmth from cold days and nights, clothing, my dogs, the country of freedom I live in, those who are willing to take up arms and leave their families to defend my freedom, laughter, glorious sunrises and sunsets.  Yes. To all of them. I am most definitely grateful. Even on my worst days.
     But less obvious sources of gratitude, the deepest wellsprings for me right now are people who truly, truly understand me, inside and out, the bad, the negative, the ugly,and the good,  and who, instead of judging me, seek to encourage me and try to make me see my own beauty. Not an easy task, and truthfully, I'm not sure I can ever be convinced of my own worth, or beauty, but I appreciate so much the rare person who seeks to make me see it.
     I am grateful for the currents of creativity that run so deeply throughout my soul. They have often been a source of deep frustration, and even outside ridicule, but I'm coming into my own. I can almost celebrate them these days, and to not be so deeply ashamed of them.  I NEED to live creatively and differently from so much of the world. I don't care if that is weird. I'm tired of trying to conform to what "normal" people think is good and right. I'm grateful for having that knowledge re-awakened, and for not ignoring it this time. I've had "teachers" of this along the way, and although none have stayed the course of my entire life with me, I'm grateful that I have only allowed that knowledge and teaching to lie dormant, not die. It's still there. It is being whispered awake again. I'm grateful for past, present, and future teachers and see-ers.
     And, on a totally tangible note - I celebrate this week good blood test results for the first time in years. Health-wise, it appears that MOST things are working as they should be.  Finally. And, I celebrate that one of my closest friends is now appearing in my life in a different role in addition to being a friend for over 40 years. It makes me very happy.  It will make my Thanksgiving one of my best ever, I think, and for that, and all other things, good and bad, in my life, I give thanks.
     Now, if only I could get my family to FEED the turkeys, instead of eat them, all would be well...