Being Thankful!

Having a blog named “weird weekends” makes it difficult when you want to share something more than just “weird” stuff you do.   This week I have been thinking a lot about being thankful and gratitude.  I am not sure that I have anything really profound to say but I want to write out my thoughts anyway.  (if this bores you I will share a couple of pictures of our Thanksgiving dinner and you can skip the words)

thanksgiving-1
I and the children have always given Isabelle a break by preparing thanksgiving dinner.  The children and I love this time together although I am not sure that it is really a break for Isabelle since she always ends up cleaning up after all of us…

This Sunday a thought… or maybe more of a question came to me.  My inner dialog quickly dismissed it with “of course” as an answer… but often when you are less than truthful with yourself the question never really goes away.  Here is the question:

“Am I really thankful?”

I am not sure that I appreciate everything that I have or that I show the appropriate amount of gratitude for all that I am blessed with.   How many things do I take for granite and accept as normal instead of recognizing how truly wonderful things are for me.

I want to share two experiences that have lead me towards these introspective thoughts.  One happened Sunday and the other Thursday at thanksgiving.  I will start with Thursday first.

Thursday:

At the thanksgiving dinner my step mother asked the children to tell her what they were thankful for.  Ben my youngest started with his iPad.   I think he recognized that we were waiting for something “better” so he ran upstairs and brought down his favorite stuffed animal.   My older kids laughed because they have been around the thanksgiving table more than once and knew that there were “expected” answers.   Ben then stated…”My family” and everyone in a subtle way congratulated him for saying what was expected.

I stopped myself and wondered why can’t he be thankful for the ipad or his stuffed animal… Why did we react to his first two responses that way? Did we just teach him to be unappreciative?  Should we not be thankful for everything even the superficial?

thanksgiving-2

Sunday:

Sunday brought back memories from a year ago. (can’t believe it has taken me an entire year to really ponder and try to learn from this experience) About a year ago a neighbor needed help…  not just a one time help… but the every week for an undermined amount of time kind of help.   Her husband had brain cancer and after surgery needed volunteers to come twice a day and help him “stand-up”.    Luckily (boy am I not horribly selfish) I live in a fantastic neighborhood and we had many volunteers which meant that I only had to go once a week.

I remember the first time I went to help.  I didn’t have feelings of charity.  I was kind of annoyed (this is embarrassing to admit).  I had to stop what I was doing (probably something very “important” like watching tv) and walk all the way across the street.  His bed had been moved into the living room.  We helped him sit up and then pulled him up into a standing position.  He held that position for about 15 seconds and then it was over… he was totally exhausted.    I remember thinking… hmm this isn’t so bad as I walked home after spending a total of 2 minutes (I think I can time this during the commercials and not miss anything “important”).

I continued each week with these “standups” and things started to change.   First of all, I began to see the standing times last longer and longer.  I joked to the family that they should write down the times to see “who was helping the best”. (I was only half joking)   Not only was he standing longer but he began taking small steps.  Each week I was excited to see how many steps my neighbor (now friend) could take… I of course talked about this often at work and I told all of my friends that I was kind of a “miracle worker”.   I honestly looked forward to each visit and they  seemed to become too short…  (I found myself even stopping by  with silly excuses like dropping off a moochies sandwich… )

One day we reached a huge milestone (he walked from the living room to his bed room). I think I was just as excited as he was and then he said something to me that I can’t forget.  He said “you know this is the first time in two years that something in my body has gotten “better instead of worse”.   He was so grateful for this… he was still in pain…  still dying… but he showed only gratitude.  Unfortunately he died several months later.   I honestly miss my “stand-ups” with him.  Initially I had no idea how fortunate I was to be invited to be a part of the last moments of his life and how sweet those memories would become to me.  Most of all…  I wished I would have thanked him…  I wished I would have been “thankful”.

Sunday his widow talked about him and her experiences.   She stated that it had been more then 800 days since they first found about the illness and everyone of those days she has cried.  She said that she cried because she was depressed, angry, hopeless, scared…  then she said “of all of these tears I have cried…90% of them I have cried in appreciation for the love and support I have felt”.   She went on thanking God and everyone.   Wow… these words made me rethink gratitude and my attitude… Am I truly thankful?

Thank you (I am saying this earnestly not ironically) for reading my post and for posting wonderful things for me to read and enjoy…

 

 

 

 

 

 

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22 thoughts on “Being Thankful!”

  1. It is not uncommon to revisit our past actions and reactions in the light of recent events, sometimes things have to happen more than once to make us ‘get it’. Sometimes we have to be practically slapped in the face to make us grateful for what we have and for the experiences that make us who we are. And I’m with Ben, everyday I am grateful for my iPad! Not for playing games or recording my fitness levels, but because it helps me participate. It helps me join in with the world. It enables me to connect with family and friends on the other side of the world. A few years ago, I had the overwhelmingly wonderful experience of talking to a young friend in Australia hours before she had her first baby when she was so nervous and worried and I was able to help her calm down and make her laugh, and I saw him within hours of his birth. In days gone by, I would have had to wait 3 months to receive photos by surface mail! It helps me connect with my aunt who is 83 and immobile and lives alone a long way from us. It helps me keep track of my 86 year old mum’s bills and pay them online. I often say thank you to all who were involved in it’s concept, design, evolution and production. Seriously. I couldn’t be without it for all sorts of reasons I can’t go into here. It is liberating and empowering for so many people, even though there are days when I wish I could sit down and have my breakfast without switching it on!
    I’m sorry you lost your friend. Thank *you* for being there for me.

    Liked by 1 person

        1. Chris…this made my day… Now I don’t think I can ever read your blog without thinking hip hop artist… or DJ… I think I remember reading a “Hi I am Chris on your home page… ” but unfortunately every time I tell my wife about one of your posts… I say the JuiceNut has another thing I want to try… juicenut is so easy to remember..

          Liked by 1 person

  2. You are very thoughtful and self aware; Isabelle is as lucky to have you as you are to have her. It’s difficult to sustain gratitude in the face of every day life, where it’s easy to get lost in the details – meeting deadlines, getting kids places they need to go, getting stuff done around the house, spending time with your partner, and all of the other little things – it’s hard to comprehend the forest when most of the time you only see the trees. For a while, I was keeping a daily gratitude journal in which I wrote at least 1 thing I was thankful for at the end of each day (I keep that journal by my bedside table). When my mood takes a turn, I still go back to that journal to remind myself of all the good things in my life. I also think it’s important to be generous and to give what you can to people, whether it’s stuff or time or money or a kind word or the spot in front of me in the line at the grocery store; there are always people who are having a worse time than I am and if I can help someone, I should and do. Thank you for this blog; I never know if you’re going to make me laugh or make me think about Big Issues or inspire me to do something crafty and creative.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. For years I wrote a gratitude journal, it helped me out of a deep depression. Now I do a mental gratitude inventory every night and morning. It helps you look for and appreciate the positive in life when often there appears to be mayhem all around!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I wasn’t expecting much when I started reading your post, but boy did you deliver! Thanks for sharing this very moving story. Gratitude is certainly relative to circumstance and we should never forget that.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for making me cry…I’m doing that a good deal lately…a feature of healing, I’m sure. You are such a giving, brave, inspiring person…this glimpse of your heart is such a gift and a measure of your generosity and desire to keep growing…and, the “bigger” you get, the better the world is for it. You’ve really given me something to reflect on….such a beautiful story…all the better, because it’s true. Thanks for sharing, my friend…God bless you and yours…and God bless your inspirational and amazing neighbour (the one in heaven and the one still here) 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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