That Whole Gratitude Thing

I know the above video says “Christmas.” Trust me, it’s appropriate for Thanksgiving. And I know it’s kinda corny. But really, are there any great truths that aren’t?

I’ve had some Thanksgivings where the circumstances of my life meant that the only hard part about coming up with something to be thankful for was how to narrow down the bounteous list. And I’ve had years where there was such an ache in my heart, it was hard to even be willing to consider being thankful.

And yet, those difficult years might be the ones where I understood gratitude the most. When things are hard, remembering the power of the simple things becomes more important. I still have (insert names of particular people whom I love). I still have water, and a roof over my head. I can still breathe. I can still (insert senses I still have).

Confession: when I watch the above video, my response is not to roll my eyes. I fall for it completely. I begin to nod and look around. I think, not only of people and senses, but the material items I’m lucky to have. Beloved books. Photo albums. Certain kitchen appliances.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, I have kept up with the rebuilding of the small Bahamian island I have gone to, and the people I know who live there. As soon as it was safe to do so, they left their shelter and returned to their homes, some just to sift through rubble. In that heartbreaking task, they often could find an object or two that would fill them with gratitude. A grandmother’s vase. A framed painting.

I think of that, and look around my house. Everything safe and secure, up on the shelves, not ruined by water or wind.

And in that moment, I am overwhelmed with gratitude.