Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Book of Gratitudes

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love that this holiday has resisted commercialization but also that it gently reminds me, every year, to think about all that I have to be thankful for. 

Once I get started taking a mental inventory of all that I am grateful for, my list of gratitudes almost seems to write itself: I am grateful for my kids and my husband; my family, friends and neighbors; the blessing of plentiful food; a roof over my head and reliable heat and clean water; and on and on and on. I am truly blessed.

But, if I were ever to get stuck, and forget to think of all I have to be thankful for (and those moments DO come, when I am hurting or resentful or disappointed) I have a handy reference to turn to: my Book of Gratitudes.

This is a photo of my Book. It's actually a photo of "Volume 2," since I filled up "Volume 1" about three years ago. Both books contain short hand-written entries, started in 1997, for a reason I no longer remember. The entries are easy to compose: I simply write down what I feel especially grateful for on the day I feel moved to pick up the book and do so.

I don't write these Gratitudes every day, and sometimes the entries are spaced far apart. They are not always about specific people or things, and sometimes the thing I am most grateful for is quite small. The entry for Dec. 7, 1997 is typical: "I am grateful for the candles on my altar that remind me of the light within so that I can continue to say, 'Not my will, but thine.'"

And, then, there's this one, from Oct. 16, 2000, a few weeks after my youngest child went off to college: "Today is the first day of the 'rest of my life' - a newly empty nest, ready for more wonderful things to grow in it - and, for that, I am very grateful."

My Book of Gratitudes holds plenty of reminders that sometimes even those things that I wish were not true or had not happened, can be the things I am most grateful for. Here is the entry from Sept. 17, 2001, six days after 9/11: "I am grateful to be alive and that my family and friends are all safe. I am grateful for the deep caring exhibited by so many people in the last few days. I am grateful that God is with us."

And, then, there's this entry, written three months after a serious accident in which I nearly severed the index finger from my left hand. Feb. 8, 2006: "I am grateful for the ability to write and to have at least partial use of my hand again. I am grateful for the clarity this injury has provided, and the knowledge that I am, first and foremost, a writer -- and now I will begin to live that way."

I have much to be grateful for, most especially that this "Day for Giving Thanks" comes around every year, to remind me of just how much I have to be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving! 

And Namaste.

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