I remember my childhood Thanksgivings. We had so many visiting that our Thanksgiving dinner spanned though both the formal dining room and the enormous kitchen. Being the youngest I would always feel hopelessly abandoned when sent to sit at the children’s table in the kitchen. Still, I was always optimistic about the idea of being at the adult table. I suppose I was not very grateful at that time when I was separated from so many of my own siblings. What exactly did I want? To be included, to be a part of my family. To be a grown up.
Several years later, as so many branched off in their own directions, our thanksgiving table grew smaller. Lucky me, to be a part of the grown-up table, at last. These more intimate setting gave opportunity for more connectivity. Hands join in prayer, and dinner waits those extra few minutes while each is given the forced opportunity to speak out something for which we were grateful. Why was it so awkward to set aside our day-to-day words, and speak out loud about something we appreciate?
Thanksgiving and Giving Thanks
Looking back on those times, and that awkward feeling, when asked about my gratitude, I realize so many things.
The time to express gratitude is in the moment.
Then again, we don’t always realize in the moment how much someone has been a support in our life, in a “bigger than the moment” kind of way. Thanks can come back years beyond that moment.
Our gratitude comes from our heart, not from our head.
The greatest Thank You comes unplanned, unscripted.
Living gratitude is being in the moment, appreciating life as it is, right now, even with all the imperfections.
When it comes down to feeling grateful, in a sense I feel a little detached. But those things I am most grateful for are those times that make me feel happy. When do I feel happiest? When I am giving. What you do for me is wonderful, but what I do for you makes my life feel more connected and complete.
What will I speak of this Thanksgiving, the things I appreciate? When it comes down to giving thanks, what will I dare to say out loud? The list is a long one, which leads me to appreciate the need to express my gratitude often, every single day.
Thanksgiving and Giving Thanks © 2013 Estee Taschereau.
Image: Thanksgiving Day Greetings, 1913. Frances Brundage (1854–1937)