This weekend the fortunate will tuck into a Thanksgiving feast. You know the kind: the one where people need to loosen their waistbands to make room for a piece of pumpkin pie. The kind that has some reaching for an antacid and others jockeying for the prime spots for a post-meal snooze.
If the hostess is particularly creative there will be decorative gourds, coloured leaves, scarecrows, pumpkins, and a turkey to delight the kids and create some ambience. These last items may be ceramic, paper, wooden, metal, or some other composition.
Houses will be full of delectable smells, mouth-watering dishes, and the clamour of families who are gathering for this special day. Hopefully the spats that sometimes mar gatherings of extended family can be avoided.
Of all days, this is one to cherish. It hasn’t been commercialized to death. The purpose hasn’t been blurred. It provides the perfect opportunity to say thank you. Those of us engaged in raising food (grain, animals, market vegetables) know and appreciate the bounty of the earth and our obligation as stewards of the land.
But, of course, it can?and should?be bigger than a celebration of the harvest. We can use this day as a reminder to acknowledge all of our blessings in all aspects of our lives. Most of us don’t do that nearly often enough. Daily prayers and a gratitude journal are tools available to all of us all the time, but maybe don’t get the sustained discipline they require to be truly effective.
It’s trite (but true) to say that without our health we have nothing. So let’s begin by thanking God for the gift of good health. Granted, many of us have challenges, and all of us battle the ravages of aging. But as they say, any day above ground is a good one. Luckily for me, whatever problems I’ve had were ?structural?, not systemic. Shoulder surgery, yes, but heart disease, no. Misplaced and twisted stomach, yes, but cancer, no. Cataracts, breast reduction surgery, plantar fasciitis, all yes, but diabetes, no. All fixable, all good, all above ground!
Next in the blessings? hit parade is family. I lucked out with both husband and children. There have never been any big problems (other than Greg’s ten year battle with alopecia areata), just the usual marriage and childrearing blips. No addictions, convictions, failures, betrayals. In the big picture there have been more wins than losses, more happy days than mad or bad ones. But only if you take the time to notice and say thanks.
Having the good fortune to pick one’s projects for work and play bring back control over one’s life. Lest you think I haven’t had to work hard on some shitty jobs, think again. But I know I have the power to change circumstances, when necessary, to achieve satisfaction and a feeling of fulfillment. That’s the beauty of choice and another blessing. Finding reasons to say thank you is easy when you start looking, from where I sit.
Hazel Anaka’s first novel is Lucky Dog. Visit her website for more information or follow her on Twitter @anakawrites..