As we approach the holiday of Thanksgiving, we look around to see what we are thankful for—or do we?
Gratitude starts with being aware of the goodness in our lives, every day. I wonder how many of us get up each morning and feel grateful that we actually woke up and have another day to live. How many of us regularly tell friends and loved ones how much we appreciate them? How many of us feel thankful that we have a job, shelter, food, and clothing?
So here comes Thanksgiving, that big day of the year that yells: “Be Thankful!” What do we do?
As a therapist, I am always tempted to question people’s motives and encourage them to look a little deeper beneath the surface. Do we really take a close look at the issue of gratitude, or just take our fortunes with a grain of salt?
At this holiday, we tend to be more concerned with the festivities and the stressors—such as, where can we put twenty-four people when our home doesn’t have enough space to accommodate everyone? Do we obsess about decorating the house and providing the perfect combination of food to please everyone? We can go a bit numb and compartmentalize the emotional meaning of this holiday. Do we worry about what we are going to wear and if the dog will behave with strangers in the house? Are we too focused on making sure everyone has a good time so we receive glowing comments on a job well done?
Consider this. At the end of a wonderful movie, The Second Best Marigold Hotel, I was moved by the very last words spoken: “There’s no present like the time.” Wouldn’t that be a wonderful thing to be thankful for this year—the time we have with each other?
In my counseling practice, I often hear that my couples do not have enough time to do things together. No time for a date night, to sit and talk on the porch, or to walk the dogs together. It’s also common to hear people say that their lives are just too full of tasks and obligations to spend time with loved ones. Isn’t that really more of a choice and not a law of nature?
This year (and every year to come) I challenge you to make time to be with family and friends. Choose to make the time and find opportunities to create memories. This sort of intimacy lends meaning to every aspect of our lives. It is one of the most precious human experiences of all, and once it’s gone can never be again.
So, this Thanksgiving, as you look around the table and see the faces of those you care for, think about why you love them and what your life would be like without them. Be thankful they chose to give their time to you. Be grateful for the time you spend together and cherish the memories you will make. Allow that gratitude to ease your burdens. Count your blessings, enjoy good company and have a very Happy Thanksgiving.
Do you have a special family tradition at Thanksgiving? Is there something you do that brings you closer?
Share it in the comment section.