Finding gratitude in our hearts might be a bit more challenging this Thanksgiving than in years past. It is for me, anyway.
And I bristle at the tired old cliche response of “count your blessings” whenever I confess to a bout with the blues. Honestly, I don’t want to hear that phrase when I’m of the mood to wallow in negativity. Those words can even come across as callous and dismissive of the very real negatives of life experienced. In light of so much sickness and death, political turmoil and economic uncertainty, it is completely understandable that we’d all be wracked with worry, grief, and even anger to the point that there is no room in our hearts for gratitude. We are, of course, only human.
But while it might be the last thing I’ve wanted to hear, those are precisely the words that I needed to hear. So despite my grumbles, I made a short list of blessings — just from last week — and discovered, embarrassingly, that I live in a world of riches.
I’m thankful for the ephemeral beauty of an autumn dawn in the woodlands, leaves ablaze in early rays as the purples of night recede to the west. I’m thankful for the sweet smells of sycamore and willow blended with the earthy, almost musky scent of fallen acorns on the forest floor.
I’m thankful for the patter of raindrops on a porch roof accompanying a quiet conversation with my wife and the soul-warming blaze of a wood fire seasoned with the spicy scent of aged hickory. I’m thankful for the cool breeze billowing gently through my window as I’m tucked under a cozy quilt.
I’m thankful for two daughters who have grown into outstanding humans despite my many failures as a parent. And I’m thankful that they are now more than daughters to me and are, in fact, best friends.
I’m thankful for the light of one granddaughter’s smile, outshining even an afternoon sun, the soft, thoughtful words of her little sister, and infant giggles from her baby brother.
I’m thankful for a dog who always seems to know when I need his support the most and always, unfailingly is there for me.
Even during the most trying of times when it seems that all is doom and gloom, glimmers of the good can be found with just a little searching. Quite often, our blessings are cloaked in what we think of as the simple and ordinary. But the simple and ordinary is without doubt what I am most thankful for.