‘Tis the season to be thankful, and even if I don’t feel like it I’m going to do it. What I mean is, sometimes the emotion of thankfulness is not what naturally comes to the surface — but I’m finding that it helps to force myself into the action of finding things to be thankful for.
In the lead up to Thanksgiving, I’ve found myself feeling a lot of sadness and longing for my dad. Dad passed away this summer, after living it up for 87 years. Many people try to comfort the loss by saying things like “he lived such a long life!” “let’s be grateful he didn’t suffer a long decline” or “we should all live so long.” I say it sucks to lose my dad and while sure, he could have suffered more and his dying could have been far more tragic, at the heart of it I am still mourning his death. And because I spent so many Thanksgiving holidays (especially in my adult life) with my dad, I am finding this week to be especially emotional.
So as I find myself getting weepy as I drive pass Arlington National Cemetery on my way to work, I very consciously start to think about what I am thankful for…..
- a beautiful drive along the Potomac River with views of the nation’s capital;
- 3 awesome kids that challenge me, entertain me, and fill my heart to the point of bursting;
- 1 world’s best husband who loves me for all my insanity;
- my mom who is the best mommy mentor for patience and understanding;
- my girlfriends who will take my kids with no notice when I need help; and who will give me their kids with no notice;
- the girlfriends who I have coffee with too infrequently but who are a sounding board on everything;
- my best friends from college who help me stay sane
- my running partner who makes it hard to ignore the 5:30am alarm
- my siblings who I see too little of but who come together when it counts
The act of being thankful is my meditation. Reciting these things in my mind washes away the sadness, and allows me to include memories of my dad in my thankful list. Like the Thanksgivings when dad and I played Trivial Pursuit against my husband and father-in-law, and we won! (I should say my dad won, I don’t recall ever having a single correct answer!) And I’m thankful that my dad traveled so much to see me over the years, and that he got to meet all my kids.
In this season of being thankful, I encourage everyone to take a moment or more to ask yourself what you are thankful for. You might just surprise yourself on how good it makes you feel!