I once heard a statement that was along the lines of: "If you say no other prayer but 'thank you' ... it is enough."
As I woke up this Thanksgiving Day morning, I found myself grateful for the most basic elements of life and living.
During times of crisis, I seem to fall back on my 'prayer of gratitude'.
When I separated from my husband, I walked away from our home and its material belongings, I left my job, my friends and family, I carried our financial debt load with me and moved myself and my children out of the province and physically separated ourselves from a destructive life. I had my children. I had peace and safety in our new life. We were together, safe, happy and healthy. We had it all. And I was grateful.
As 9-11 was unfolding and rewinding and replaying in our lives that fateful day back in 2001, I vividly recall wandering around my home giving thanks for the peace and safety we feel in our country and in our homes. As the entire U.S. nation had an invisible threat lying in wait ... I felt for them. I ached for the many losses and the unending effect of the tragic events of that day. And I was grateful for the many blessings we take for granted.
My life has had its share of drama. Minor events in the whole scheme of things, but I grew up in a safe and predictable home where 'normal' was taken for granted. I didn't understand that the entire world outside of my safe harbour at home was not the same. As my life unfolded, I ran into many different experiences that taught me not to trust, the world can be unsafe, life is not easy and you must experience it to understand it.
I'm grateful for the safety net of the home and family I grew up in. I'm grateful that safety net of my family is still very much intact. I'm grateful for every challenge that I have faced in my life because it has brought me to this very day and made me appreciate the small things in my life. I'm grateful for the safe and predictable life that I have been able to provide for my own children these past few decades. We have always had everything we need. We have always had the security of that safety net beyond our own home - the security of family and good friends. We have had each other and we've had so much more.
One of the things I am most grateful for is our health. Our family has truly been blessed. There is certainly a history of health risks that run in our family. But we live in a world where we are very much aware of the facts, health care is within every one's grasp, emergency care is a phone call away and the wealth of knowledge and abilities of the doctors is growing every day. As a child, my oldest son was very materialistic and somewhat bitter about the things that we didn't have. He hated the fact that we had little extra money to fritter away on extravagances. We once had a conversation about money. I was trying to tell him how rich we really were - because of all we did have. I believe the conversation led to the question - if you could have your health or a million dollars, what would you choose. He chose money - because his thinking was that you could buy everything you need. My response was - 'No. You can't. Good health is simply something that can't be bought. I'm sure that those suffering with chronic illness would give away all of their worldly possessions if they could just regain their health.'
Money cannot buy the things that are most important in life. The material belongings that surround us are truly immaterial.
I have a home that shelters us, food to feed us, the ability to earn a living that sustains us. Our home is blessed with a haven of safety and warmth, it is a place to welcome family and friends. And we have our health. We live in a country where we feel safe, our water is clean and readily available and our governments provide safety nets to provide for all. The geography of where we live provides us with weather that can be unpredictable and somewhat annoying ... but it is a rare occurrence where there is loss of life due to the many forces of nature that are a fact of life in many areas of the world.
When I look at the world around me and the smaller world of my home and family I realize how rich I am. And I am grateful.
"Happy Thanksgiving" ... may you look around your world every day and find small blessings hidden around every corner.