Let Your Heart Be Filled With Gratitude

Thursday, November 26, 2020

"Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer. And let faith be the bridge you build to overcome evil and welcome good."

                                                                     - Maya Angelou, Celebrations: Rituals of Peace and Prayer


Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Although this has been quite a year for all of us, and I don't have to name the many reasons why; they'll forever be imprinted in our minds and in the history books; it is still a day that should be filled with gratitude as we gather with our loved ones, even if our gathering is smaller than it ever was before, or is virtually. For despite the disheartening events that have changed the course of our lives as we once knew it, we do have many reasons to give thanks as we celebrate this Thanksgiving Day.


First and foremost, one reason is that you have managed to rise each day, putting on your armor to face the elements, both external and internal, to live not just a semblance of life but your best, most purposeful, productive life, for yourself, your family, and as a writer. 


Secondly, you have been courageous, creative, generous in deeds and words, and resolute about creating normalcy in a world so unnormal. And careerwise, you may have had days when you didn't feel like writing or submitting, but you did write and submit, and will continue to. There were days when you felt as if your wings, once so ready to soar, were broken, but your boundless spirit prevailed, and that indeed is something to be grateful for. 


Today I hope you reflect on these and the many other reasons to be grateful, just as I will. Reflect on those blessings, small as a grain of sand, and big as a mountain (those unexpected miracles that came just when you wanted to give up or were overly stressed about an issue) to inspire you. This day and each day afterwards, look at your life through a new viewfinder and focus on the awe still around you, in your community, and in the world. It's still there. So open your arms wide and let gratitude wrap around you like a patchwork quilt as you enjoy this Thanksgiving Day, your family, and all the eggnog you can drink. 


In the meantime, here are a few reasons why I am grateful this Thanksgiving. Please don't hesitate to share your own. 


It may sound juvenile, like what a child would say when a teacher asks what he or she is thankful for as they make handprint turkeys, but I'm thankful for eyes that see, ears that hear, a mouth that can talk, eat savor delicious food, and sing a bit off-key, hands that can feel and hug, and feet that can carry my body from place to place. 


I'm thankful for the ability to write and tell stories but also for the joy and passion I have when I write. I'm thankful my writing can touch people and even change the minds and hearts of some people. 


I'm thankful for my family and friends. They love me fervently with all of my imperfections, as I do them. They see me, they hear me, they cry with me, they laugh with me, they dance with me, they teach me, they pray with and for me, they encourage me, they are the biggest fans of my writing and my brightest stars.


I'm thankful that my family and I can give to those who are less fortunate and in crisis especially now because of this Pandemic. I'm thankful to my parents for instilling a spirit of giving in me as a child, and my husband's parents in him as a child, that we passed on to our children so the circle of making a difference in the world is continual.


I'm thankful for release. These last few months have helped me release things that have burdened me. It has caused me to release habits that led to me being less productive as a writer, to release thoughts that were too critical, and even certain people, while wishing them well, as I shift into a more optimistic mindset. It has been liberating to let go of what once held me captive, so I'm thankful for the power of release.


I'm thankful for great memories. During this new normal, I've gathered my sweetest memories from childhood to present, that were in my emotional treasure chest, to reflect on and sit with for a while. Sometimes those memories became stories I submitted, fiction and nonfiction. Sometimes those memories landed in my journal for my eyes only. 


Last but not least, I'm thankful for a jambalaya of things in no special order. Literature, art, music, nature, essential workers, cute puppies, cuter kittens, comedy shows, laughter, genuine healing conversations, documentaries, the great community of WOW writers, and so much more.  

       

                                                                                                          -Jeanine


Jeanine DeHoney is a freelance writer who has had her writing published in several magazines, blogs and anthologies, including, Chicken Soup For The Soul. She tries to live each day with a heart filled with gratitude. 

6 comments:

Sioux Roslawski said...

Jeanine--This is indeed a time of reflection. Our lives slowed down somewhat. We're not able to travel like we'd like. We're not able to socialize like we want. But if we're alive and kickin'... we have lots to be thankful for.

I'm thankful for music--for decades of folk and rock and dance music that have woven threads in the tapestry of my life. Everyone from James Taylor, John Prine, Cat Stevens, Joni Mitchell, Harry Chapin, Queen, R.E.M., Ruthie Foster, Earth, Wind and Fire, the Temptations, Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes... and so much more.

I'm thankful for friends. Old friends who have been with me since the early 1970s. New friends. Digital friends. Writing friends. Teaching friends. I just talked to a friend from 7th grade. Back then, we danced through the street at night in caftans. Tricia (the friend) said we should go to Mexico together... and we can dance in caftans again. (I said back then I did it braless. I would never do that again. Things would get all scraped up from dragging along the ground ;)

I'm thankful for exquisite sights I've seen--in this country and abroad. I've watched musical and dramatic performances that have made me hold my breath in wonder and emotion.

I have a granddaughter who is a freshman in high school, and she is the finest human being I've ever encountered. She's sensitive and compassionate and observant and artistic in so many ways. I have one foster grandson who I've had the privilege of knowing for the last two years... and hopefully he will become my permanent grandson at some point soon. Another grandson--born in June--makes me laugh and shake my head. He is a high-maintainence baby, but when he's in a good mood, he's hilarious. I have a supportive, generous husband, two fine kids and their two wonderful spouses/partners.

I am thankful for the phenomenal literature and nonfiction pieces I have read and cherished. I'm so grateful for the wonderful leaders we've had--Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., Jimmy Carter and most recently--the humble, brilliant and compassionate Barack Obama.

There are so many things I've missing mentioning... but yes, I have lots to be thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving, Jeanine. May you enjoy the day and the fellowship and the food.

Jeanine DeHoney said...

These are so many wonderful reasons to be full of gratitude Sioux. Thanks so much for sharing. You too enjoy this day of fellowship and food

Margo Dill said...

You are right that we can all find things to be grateful for in the middle of the worst chaos, and it does help us. Every night, before we go to bed, Katie and I each say three blessings about the day. it has really helped us both to have a better attitude about everything, and it's a great way to end the day.

Happy Thanksgiving to you!

Jeanine DeHoney said...

Thank you Margo for sharing. That is a beautiful way to end the evening as a family, to name three blessings before bedtime. It does give you a brighter outlook about life. Hope you too had a blessed Thanksgiving.

Cathy C. Hall said...

I am thankful that you shared that Maya Angelou quote, Jeanine. That's one I'm writing down and putting on the mirror!

Jeanine DeHoney said...

Thank you Cathy. That quote is definitely one to remember, especially now.

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