My happiness quotient correlates with my ability to give. I find tremendous satisfaction in doing this. This is one reason that I cherish Thanksgiving. I derive immense pleasure in creating this symbolic meal for those I love. For a subpar cook, I knock the socks off the classic Thanksgiving menu.
Before dinner, I set a blessings jar on the table. I leave blank pieces of paper for each person to anonymously write something they are grateful for. I then read them as we enjoy our pie. I leave slips from previous years in the jar, distinguishable by a different color of paper. The blessings of gratitude are as abundant as the love that surrounds me.
Back to Thanksgiving. My family is a loving bunch. The rain made for a cozy day of movies and munchies. My husband made a delicious turkey while I cultivated sweet and savory side dishes. We had our usual holiday bickering followed by mutual praise for a job well done. But I struggled more than I had the previous year. As my disease progresses, challenges are impossible to hide. Everyone offered their assistance, most of which I declined.
I held on with all of my might. Just as I am holding on to myself as I progress.
Immediately afterward, my father sent me a thank-you note. After profuse thanks, he mentioned that all of the work gave him cause for concern. I felt translucent, as if he saw my internal struggle. Then it dawned on me that everything about my physicality has changed. My struggle is on inadvertent display. What I once took for granted now takes thought and planning. How could I not look fatigued when a simple shower takes so much effort.
A single tear rolled down my cheek. The loss was too much to bear. Thanksgiving at home has always been a tradition. I wanted so much to contradict his concern, yet I could not. He is my father. He saw in me what I would not admit to myself.
Pain and insomnia precluded our gathering. My spirit shone with joy, yet my body could not help but illustrate my condition.
Thanksgiving was indeed a day of thanks. I was deeply thankful. I am reminded to seek gratitude today. I open my jar and read each one aloud. This is my reality; these are my truths. The beauty of my blessings inspires me to create new possibilities. Let abundance lead my narrative. And let my jar always remain half full.
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