November 24, 2022, Grapevine- I remember, in years that my parents deemed “lean”, being quite happy with what had been given me on Christmas of those years. I recall being puzzled at Mom’s dismay about the quality of the gifts they had given. Life itself was quite enough, actually. All the things besides it were gravy. I told her as much.
Speaking of which, Thanksgiving 2022 is a wrap, at least the dinner part, here in DFW’s shadow. Yunhee made her first traditional American dinner, and it was stellar. Turkey, peppered mashed potatoes, cornbread dressing and cranberry sauce were a grand first effort. Korean sticky puffed rice replaced pumpkin pie and whipped cream, and is actually better for early afternoon.
I have read a couple of articles on “how to be grateful”, this morning. I most definitely agree with friend Andrea Cagan’s synopsis of gratitude (See Andrea Cagan, “Gratitude Shmatitude”, Andrea’s Writings, Thoughts and Inspiration) as best being more spontaneous, definitely not forced, or even rehearsed. Missing out on the tiny delights, from a small plant first shooting up through the soil to a child’s first steps or on the grander, a recovering patient’s doing, tentatively, what had been de rigeur prior to their mishap, is disaffirming. It is vital to one’s well-being to notice and appreciate all that life brings to the table.
When I was young, the usual lessons of “Please, Thank You and You’re Welcome” were imparted to us. One of my maternal aunts offered what I thought was a refreshing caveat- “Don’t ever fake being thankful. I, for one, will see right through it.” Therein lies the heart of true gratitude. Like love, on which it is based, gratitude is never vain or false; it is neither snide nor self-deprecating. It cannot be feigned. The flip side is, approaching life with a loving heart, one can see the value in just about anything, endure it and thus feel grateful for some element contained within it.
Life, even recovering from an illness or mourning the senseless losses of innocents to war and personal rage, contains within it the admonition to do better, to break out of the prison of self. Therein lies the greater blessing, that true thankfulness is a heart song.
Happy Thanksgiving, one and all!