GRATEFULNESS

thanksgiving sunset
Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.
— Epicurus

On a day when the nation embraces gratefulness, one cannot help but wonder why we limit ourselves to just one day a year in which to focus our gratitude. Giving thanks for the things we have should be a daily affirmation. We should learn to appreciate the little things more than the larger ones. To value love over than the accumulation of wealth should be at the top of our list and not something that occurs as an afterthought.

The time we spend doing an act of kindness for a loved one, such as preparing a simple breakfast or writing a few loving words on a scrap of paper, has great significance. Time is fleeting and limited. It cannot be retrieved or earned back, unlike wealth. Therefore, we should value the minutes and hours we have with someone by making every moment count. Those moments are the ones we will remember most, contrary to the gift we receive which ends up hidden in the back of a closet for years to come.

Today was a quiet day spent at home alone. There was no turkey, no stuffing, no mashed potatoes, nor was there a green bean casserole. The aroma of freshly baked bread did not fill my home today. Desserts did not grace my table nor did the presence of friends and family. Pumpkin cheesecake would have been my dessert of choice.

The dessert I made for last year's Thanksgiving dinner was an orange spice cake with spiced mascarpone cream. I intend to make a smaller version of it next month when I am in Ireland celebrating an early Christmas. I was touched by the email I received from my older daughter in the waking hours of the morning wishing me a Happy Thanksgiving. Since she was still in Berlin, there was no celebration for her either but I told her next year will be different.

When Saffron called me on Skype this afternoon, she asked if I would be having a turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. I explained to her there would be no Thanksgiving celebration this year. 'But you always have Thanksgiving!' she exclaimed. 'Not this year' I explained. She then asked if I had at least friends to go to for dinner. I told her I did not - at least not anywhere close by. 

Instead of spending the day in the kitchen making the challah bread, split pea soup, and pumpkin pie I had every intension of making, I spent hours in bed resting my back in hopes it heals soon. I read a chapter from the recent book I purchased, browsed a few articles online, and caught up on some SOKOs on German online television.

Despite the lack of a Thanksgiving dinner to partake of today, gratefulness was in my heart. Gratitude for my three children, for the experiences I've gone through thus far, for the ability to walk a few steps more without pain than yesterday, for the chance to see another sunset, and the ability to see and talk with my love at the end of the day. There are many things for which to be grateful if only we open our hearts and minds to notice.