It’s easy to talk about all we’re grateful for on Thanksgiving.
Our family has been trying to make a habit of counting our blessings all year long. The idea was born on a crazy-making day when everyone was complaining and whining. I suggested – ok maybe screamed – that we all take a minute to think about something good that happened that day.
The good thing that day was the beautiful box my son made asking us simple questions: What are you grateful for? What good happened to you today? Easy questions with often profound answers that undoubtedly change our perspective. A few months later, we went to a paint-your-own-pottery place and he decided to make a more durable Gratitude Jar.
We slip colorful pieces of paper in the box and jar and share them over the dinner table several times a week.
I’m often overcome during the reading.
I’m grateful for a sunny day.
I’m grateful for true friends.
I’m grateful there was no traffic.
I’m grateful for my thriving family, my funny son and my sweet husband.
I’m grateful for coffee. I’m grateful for wine.
I’m grateful for music, for books, for laughter, for tears.
I’m grateful for our home, our health, our sense of humor. Especially that sense of humor.
Sometimes we’re grateful for simple things we usually take for granted. I’m grateful for my coat, my umbrella, my dinner on the table, my bed. My son always wants a little more stuff. He’s almost 9 and thinks more stuff would make him happier.
Sometimes he’s grateful for Minecraft. Sometimes it’s the money he got in a card from his Grandma. Or doing well on a math test or having a friend over.
Then he writes something like this, that he’s grateful for happiness, and my heart swells, knowing my message is getting through to him.
Granted, sometimes we’re better at it this gratitude thing than others. We have been through our trials this year, as have you all. Some days just suck, as my son says. Many of us are struggling with loss and pain and stress. Others are coping with hunger, joblessness, homelessness, loneliness, illness, addiction. No matter our circumstances, someone certainly is in a worse position. No matter our wealth, someone surely has more.
When I’m down, I look through the piles of paper I’ve saved and stuffed into gallon Ziploc bags, and I’m reminded how bountiful my blessings. So I try – as corny as some may find it – to find joy in every day: A giggle, a song I like on the radio, a message in marker on a pink slip of paper that reminds me someone loves me.