Thankful for Being Thankful by Cylvia Hayes


Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays.  It doesn’t have the manic consumerist feel of Christmas.  I like the meal-sharing, rather than gift-sharing aspect.  Also, since I’m a pretty terrible cook and my good friends know that, on Thanksgiving I get to bring simple things like cheese and roast garlic and eat lots of tasty home-made food that is way beyond my limited culinary skill set.

Yet, even with all of that, my favorite thing about Thanksgiving, is actually giving thanks.  During this holiday I go into a reflective mood, thinking about all the things I have reason to be grateful for.   I credit my mom for instilling this attitude of gratitude.

This year I am most grateful just to be feeling grateful.  Last year, embattled and under attack, being thankful was a discipline, something I had to work at.  Now, four full seasons later, though still dealing with some of the attacks, I am genuinely, deeply grateful.  In recent weeks I have even begun to have flashes of gratitude for the attacks and challenges themselves and the growth they have opened up in my life.

I am grateful for my beloveds and true friends.  I am amazed and thankful for the healing that is happening in my biological family.  I SEE all of you now with much greater depth and appreciation.

I am grateful for the insights into myself — the good, the bad, the ugly.  I know myself much better than I did a year ago and I like myself more.  I am very thankful for this growth.

I am thankful that I have now shifted from being consumed and overwhelmed by the pain of loss and grief to being excited about what is happening and is about to happen in my life.

As I write, I am in my snug little home with a warm fire in the woodstove accompanied by glowing candles here and there.  The big dog and small cats are sprawled out, soaking in the deep, radiant warmth.  Outside the first snowfall of the season keeps dumping, blanketing everything in ever-deeper white.  It is magnificent.

I am grateful for the warmth and the peace and the hushed quiet that the covering of snow brings to my neighborhood.  I am grateful for the luxury of cats and dogs as spoiled friends rather than pests or food and candles as décor rather than my only means of light.

I am grateful that I have a home, a hometown that I love, a home country.  I am so grateful on this day that I am not a refugee risking my life, fearing for my child as I flee from unimaginable horror and danger into unknown lands and an unknowable future.

I am thankful for all the blessings in my life, deeply grateful to have so much to be grateful for.  I am appreciative of the turning of the seasons and for this amazing journey that is the human experience of life.

My hope is that all who read this also have much to be deeply grateful for.  My prayer is that those facing severe challenges just now will find comfort, safety and gentler times.

By Cylvia Hayes

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