Yes.. it’s partly because I LOVE food, but more importantly because back home in Egypt, where I was born and raised, we didn’t have a holiday celebrating that ”It is in giving that we receive”. I remember on my first Thanksgiving, when my 7th grade teacher told me that Thanksgiving became a federal holiday in 1863 when Uncle Abe decided we should wine and dine with friends and family over Turkey on the last Thursday of every November to “Praise to our beneficent Father who dwells in heaven”. I thought it was inspiring that a country recognizes how important it is to be thankful. There’s something about a holiday that causes us to reflect on what’s really important. Ultimately, Thanksgiving became an emotional holiday for me.
This upcoming Thursday marks my 10th Thanksgiving in this country, and like every year, I will put effort into making it nothing but an absolutely buoyant and complete day. But.. Of course, as we all know, the fuzzy wooly feeling doesn’t last forever. Most of us, as do I, treat gratitude as a holiday ornament that we pull out only once a year to decorate. After the season is over, we put it back in its place; far away from our hearts and minds. The danger in this, is that Thanksgiving is only on one Thursday of the year. That’s one day that we are out feeding the homeless or cooking for the poor. That’s one day, we are laughing and saying thank you. That’s one day we see loved ones and make jokes and play football and turn on lovely music and pick up a glass of tasty wine. That’s one day of giving thanks to God. That’s one day we are being grateful. But what’s one day of 365 days?
I was bitter to see that gratitude isn’t practiced on a continuum and it’s put away immediately after thanksgiving is over. But I get it, gratitude is not our natural disposition, it’s not mine either. and it seems to be a superpower nowadays; It takes effort and discipline to remind ourselves of the many reasons we should be grateful.
Until recently, I didn’t understand gratitude either. I mean in a world that seems to hurt for no reason, giving thanks felt insincere. Living in a world where there is suffering, pain, turmoil and children dying of hunger every day; it just didn’t make sense. But now, I understand.
Being grateful is a choice.
So today, I chose to be aware of the many reasons I should be thankful, which is a small miracle in itself. I woke up this morning grateful for the aroma of my coffee brewing. Grateful for God. Grateful for love. Grateful to be living in peace with my very wonderful and loving family. Grateful for the people I met and the friends I made. Grateful to be alive, now, in this place and at this time. And grateful for the freedom to write whatever I want, whenever I want.
I’m now aware of the fact that life is better than I deserve.
I urge you to take some time today, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, to be thankful for something; whatever it may be. I realized there is SO much to be thankful for, if only we have the eyes to see. The trick is to be mindful that gratitude should not be an automatic response to when you’re getting your way in life; gratitude is constantly looking for the best in the most unpleasant situations.
So instead of waiting for something positive to happen so you can be thankful, bring gratitude to your experiences.
I noticed, I am a much happier person when I’m thankful for every experience I come across in life (bad and good) and suddenly I started to appreciate the things I once took for granted. And THAT is the result of gratitude.
Don’t put the gratitude ornament back in the attic after Thanksgiving this year. Instead, keep it close to your heart and mind ❤
Stay happy, healthy and wealthy. And have a great Thanksgiving!