I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual.
~Henry David Thoreau
Very often we hear, “Be grateful for the ordinary things in life.” Excellent advice.
So I try to be grateful for the big “ordinary” things – my children, my husband, a roof over my head – and the little ordinary things – wrinkle cream, hair dye, and craft beer (not necessarily in that order).
But Thoreau in his quote says he is also grateful for “what I am.” Hmmm, what does that mean? Maybe this might explain:
I help take care of my very ill sibling. It’s hard to be grateful for anything in this situation. So, for me, I think Thoreau’s more nuanced version of gratitude means be grateful for:
- my tenacity: I fight to resolve the varied, complicated issues of my sibling’s condition
- my knowledge: I (usually) know to take care of myself when I feel depleted
- my insight: I (mostly) surrender to problems that have no resolution
Those would be the things that “I am.”
Unlike Thoreau, however, my thanksgiving is not perpetual; some days I am so spent that I can barely speak. But I try to remember to thank the heavens for the everyday “things” I have and I will work on being grateful for who I am.
What are attributes for which you can be thankful?
- Are you a good listener?
- Do you make people laugh when they are feeling down?
- Can you sink a three-pointer with one hand tied behind your back?
See, we all have gifts for which to be grateful.
Try modeling Thoreau’s version of gratitude for your kids. When life gives you lemons, show them how good you are at making lemonade (figuratively speaking). And serve that lemonade with your Thanksgiving dinner. Mmmm, turkey, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie. I am eternally grateful.