On this American holiday, a day set aside for giving thanks, I’m aware of how difficult it is for so many in this broken country to find anything to be thankful for. We are grieving, lonely, afraid, hurting, angry.
Somehow Thanksgiving has become about family, making those who have no family, more grievous. Those whose family is far away, more lonely. Those whose family is estranged, more hurt. Those whose chosen family is busy with given family, envious. Those whose given family is spending it with chosen family, left out.
Somehow Thanksgiving has become about food, making those who can barely put bread on the table feel less than. Those who have no one around the table, empty. Those whose plans to travel to someone else’s table have been cancelled, disappointed.
But what if this day set aside for gratitude, isn’t about family—given or chosen? What if it isn’t about turkey? What if it isn’t about traveling in inclement weather? What if it doesn’t look like a Norman Rockwell painting? What if it’s okay to feel the load of unrealized expectation or desire, and then to let it go?
Maybe because we are grieving, lonely, afraid, hurting, angry is why we need this one day. Instead of hating it because it looks all wrong, maybe we need to make it look all right. Maybe it’s just about gratitude. Maybe that is enough.
Today I am grateful for the sunrise.
Today I am grateful for Mama Fir, even though her trunk divides my view.
Today I am grateful for a friend I accidentally sent a text message to this morning that resulted in early morning connection.
Today I am grateful a text conversation with another friend who is experiencing the familiar juxtaposition of grief and relief, and allows me to walk with her in the mire.
Today I am grateful for a body that can fold into asanas and for this sacred space.
And that I was able to go because a cold is only a cold and I am otherwise healthy.
Today I am grateful for my sister who went to yoga with me and is always close by.
Today I am grateful for courageous flowers.
Today I am grateful for 1500 letters from my forebears who let me into their lives
and the times in which they lived through their words.
Today I am grateful for Airbnb guests, especially with such good taste in cars.
(Three of my last four guests have had orange vehicles.)
Today I am grateful that I get to live in this beautiful corner of America.
Today I am grateful for the cloud over Mt. St. Helens that makes her
ravaged beauty look whole again.
What if it’s the clouds that make us whole?
Today I am grateful for the sunset.
And though they are far away today, and I am not eating turkey around the table with them, I am always and forever grateful for my family and my many friends across this land.