In church this morning one of the pastors called this week "a week of gratitude, a week of really remembering how to say thank you." I liked that idea. A whole week of saying "Thank You!" instead of a day of stressful travel, eating way too much, and not talking much at all about what we are thankful for because, honestly, it's too much and kind of embarrassing to get real that way. A week of saying Thank You instead of a week of build-up to the insanity of consumerism that marks this time of year.
The follow-up in church to the pastor's prayer was an "open mike" sermon in which people went to the front and spoke for a few minutes about something they were grateful for, which I have to admit felt good and honest and weird and a little too intimate all at the same time. I find myself worried about any visitors today and wanting to reassure you all that my church is actually pretty normal, that we don't usually do things like that. Which is true but says a lot more about me and where I need to grow than it does about my church.
I couldn't think of anything to say in church (and I did pray and ask if G-D had anything for me, and I hope if something had popped into my head I would have had the courage to get up and say it, but nothing came, so I was off the hook anyway) but then I thought I could write about gratitude this week. My first thought was I could write a short piece every day about something I am grateful for and post it. Then I remembered that I often bite off more than I can chew and decided not to promise anything. Better just to start with something and then see how the rest of the week turns out.
A few years ago a friend was leading a Sunday school class I was in and she gave us an index card and a challenge. "Write down what you are grateful for" she told us. I filled up the card pretty quickly and I still have it. It's good to look back on, particularly when I am grumpy. The items on my card are my "big gratitude" items, the things that have a huge influence on me that I often take for granted. Here they are:
My husband, who is patient, funny, smart, and much calmer and more level headed than I am.
Our daughter, who is healthy, smart, loving, creative and curious. She has a bright, energetic and adventurous spirit which teaches me every day.
The rest of our family; parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins - both my husband and I grew up knowing ourselves loved, encouraged to learn, and blessed to always have enough. We are still surrounded by a net of love.
Good health, throughout my family.
A job that allows me to do good and serve others every day, and also pays our bills so that we have enough.
Freedom to worship, speak, write, travel, work, live, have friends as seems best to me without restriction by our government.
G-D's love and care, and his abiding presence with me in each day and circumstance.
Those are my big items, the ones on my card, the ones I can think of off the top of my head when I focus my mind on gratitude.
See other posts in my Thanksgiving Week series here:
Teachers - Gratitude 2
Baking With My Daughter - Gratitude 3
Cranberry Relish and Interdependence - Gratitude 4