A Day for Gratitude

Multi-Generation Family Sitting Around Table Eating Meal

The smell of Thanksgiving: Pumpkin pie baking in the oven the day before, the salty/fatty/savory smell of turkey…
The taste of Thanksgiving: The perennial favorites of turkey, dressing, potatoes… younger people growing older and contributing more, bringing the pie or cranberry sauce…
The sight of Thanksgiving: My parents’ huge chocolate Labradors sitting smack in the middle of the kitchen floor whilst foods go into and out of the oven…
Sound: Clatter of dishes and din of conversation, children running and stomping, pattering…
Feelings: Warmth and ease, satiety and succor, thankfulness…

Thanksgiving is not just a U.S. or European holiday. It originated as a harvest festival and is celebrated in countries around the world, and may be either religious or secular. In The Netherlands orthodox Protestants may go to church. Japan’s “Labor Thanksgiving Day” has roots in an ancient Shinto harvest ceremony and is celebrated annually on November 23.

For many it is a day of reflection on appreciating the material comforts of food and shelter… and gratitude with a broader application.

When I meditate on gratitude, the immediate thing that comes to mind is the domestic comfort of husband and cat, that I am warm during the winter, cool during the summer, safe and that I can afford to buy what I need to buy.

My family; I love that I have fun with them, that I respect them, that I look forward to being with them. I am especially grateful for my baby niece; I love that she runs to me with arms outstretched.

I am thankful for my health. I’m fortunate to have recovered from a rare illness and grateful that the Cleveland Clinic is nearby, without which I don’t know what I would have done for the illness. I’m grateful that an expert in my illness was right here in Cleveland.

I’m grateful that I have my hobbies, cooking and baking, the arts, an enjoyment of movies and books.

I’m grateful that I have the example of my family, my mother’s community involvement – arts organizations, her church. I’m especially grateful that my grandmother taught me so much about being tolerant and loving of all sorts of people. When I think of her, I especially think about how her outlook was so humane, so willing to give people a chance and understand that many conditions might contribute to what people are like. My grandmother taught me to always work on improving myself; to better understand what kindness is and to work towards this.

What are you thankful for?

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