It’s November, I have Much to be Grateful For!

The First Thanksgiving Jean Louis Gerome Ferris

Image via Wikipedia

 

It might be that because Thanksgiving is celebrated this month, whatever the reason, it’s November and I have much to be grateful for.  And I know it!  Sometimes it seems I’m not as aware of gratitude at other times.  What I believe is something about November brings it all rushing to the front of the line.

Blame it on the weather or the shortening of daylight hours.  Something about it being November causes me to pause and reflect on people, places and things I’m grateful for in more depth than at other times of the year.  Sunshine and warm weather invite activity and other distractions.  November, especially the early part of the month, seems to invite nesting and contemplation of the joys of simple things.  Hearth and home, hot soups and stews, warm drinks with spicy aromas.

Thanksgiving has been my favorite holiday for as long as I can remember.  So many good smells coming from the kitchen.  People gathered at tables displaying abundance and variety.  The “good” dishes, flatware and crystal seen in use, not just on display and gathering dust.  More people “dressed up” than usual.    There seems to be an unspoken agreement that this is a time for appreciating life and sharing in the wealth and abundance of it.  It’s a party, just not the same kind of party as Christmas, New Years or a birthday.  It doesn’t seem to have the raucousness those events bring up.  Subdued isn’t the right word.  There’s a quiet peacefulness to it.

Once the holiday rush starts this mellow time comes to an end and doesn’t seem to return for another year.  Yes, there are definitely moments from one November to the next.  We all have to take time out occasionally to reflect and absorb.  Something about November seems to concentrate it all.  October seems to involve finishing things, maybe some preparation for the nesting ahead.  I’m just guessing at things here.  Trying to tell if there really is as much of a pattern to things as I suspect.  I like things to make sense, as much as possible.

This year has been totally jam-packed.  So much has changed since last November.  Some friends have moved away, some new friends have been found.  My attitude and outlook on life has improved dramatically.  I’m not sure I would recognize the person I was last year and I’m pretty sure she wasn’t thinking these kind of thoughts.  Gratitude, quite likely, just, differently.  I don’t know if I can clarify.  Wonder if grateful is different from thankful.  Are the underlying motives different?  You know, like the difference between suggestions and advice…strings attached.

Gratitude is a way of life.  A way of thinking, feeling and acting that recognizes the many graces in each and every day.  Not just acknowledging them, giving them active attention and notice.  Looking for them, cause you know they are there, no matter what is going on.  A smile from a stranger.  A green traffic light where it has “always” been red.  Money in a pocket you had forgotten was there.  The way the sunlight hits a tree or a crystal prism or creates silhouettes in the distance as it sets.  A friend gets good news that lightens his or her spirit or heart.  Choosing exactly the right thing for a meal.  A chance to do something you’ve wanted to for a long time and “everything” falls into place and you do it!  And it’s grand!  SO many daily graces and because we’re not looking for them and at them they just go by, not recognized for what they are.  I kinda think we start out just saying thank you at the odd times we happen to notice.  The more we notice and say thank you, the more we notice.  It seems to be self feeding.  Before we know it, we are living gratitude.

I don’t think it happens  over night.  It starts slowly and gradually and we do have to participate in order for it to begin building on itself.   For as long as we fail to notice the variety of daily occurrences of grace we slow the process.  There are other things going on at the same time and we can get bogged down in the stuff we don’t like to such a degree that we don’t give much, or even any, notice to the stuff we do like.  When we only see grace every other day or week or month or year, life looks hard and tedious and rewarding.  It’s as if gray days are twice as gray and sunny days are dimmer than they could be.

It is altogether too easy to overlook grace unless you actively start paying attention.  We have become so accustomed to being worried and stressed that more than a few of us start thinking not only that’s all there is, we also think, that’s how it’s supposed to be!  We get a lot of encouragement in that direction; however unintended.  Parents, bosses, spouses……the press, books, movies….even some churches.

Noticing daily grace has a kind of Pollyanna flavor to it and may be seen as superficial.  Something.  It’s rarely what you hear people conversing about.  I guess that mostly depends on your usual contacts, more than anything.  Most of my friends, now, don’t just notice daily grace, they talk about it.  Sometimes with a quiet smile, sometimes in total excitement, sometimes with a sense of awe.  Hanging around with these people has definitely rubbed off.  I’m encountering more people in different situations and circumstances who also notice and acknowledge daily graces.  I no longer think it is limited to people who have chosen a particular set of life principles.  It’s like, they are living the principles without having them literally spelled out.  Interesting!

Looking forward to each new day as a surprise and an adventure, the good kind, is still pretty new to me.  If you’ve never lived any other way, none of this will make sense.  If you have lived another way, I hope this makes sense and offers encouragement that different good is possible.

One of the daily graces I have discovered and been paying close attention to is how much joy there is in writing.  Putting thoughts into words and sentences and paragraphs is my idea of a good time!  I do have other ideas of a good time, it’s just that writing is almost always available.  Between starting the blog and NaNoWriMo, I am definitely in seventh heaven!  It’s like a walk through continuous scenic country and I always have just enough light to see obstacles ahead.  Putting things in black and white (unless I’m in a rainbow mood) shows more choices than just thinking and worrying ever do.  Seeing the obstacles means I can avoid them, work around them or work through them.  The biggest difference is actually “publishing” thoughts and musings and opinions and such.  Might be that it forces me to look upside down and inside out; more than one way.  However you choose to express it.

So, it’s November and I have much to be grateful for.  How about you?

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