If the only prayer you ever say in your life is ‘Thank you,’ Meister Eckhart wrote, that will suffice. However delinquent I may be in many areas, I have managed to remain grateful every day. Every single day. This being Thanksgiving Day, however, it’s important to formalize my gratitude, to carve it into the puzzle box of treasured pieces that comprise my life.
How is it possible that one person can enjoy so many blessings? One might even argue, a disproportionate number of blessings.
· a steadfast husband whose preoccupation is the welfare of the family, who devotes the better part of his days to monitoring our financial status, dreaming up and executing projects for yard and house, who, like RFK, asks, ‘Why not?’
· children who care about each other and the world, with the courage to make themselves vulnerable to see what they might accomplish, as well as the equanimity to handle the challenges life brings;
· our children’s partners who love our children unconditionally and embrace our family’s idiosyncracies;
· our almost three-week old grandson, whole and alert, blue-grey eyes fixed on mine as I play
« bébite » with him as my father did with his grandchildren, and tell him he’s perfect, will always be perfect;
· solid roots having grown into an extended family (sister, sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law, nephews, nieces) who connect me to my beginnings and my core;
· enlightened parents who, convinced already in that era that children absorb all stimuli from day one, exemplified adult literacy: conversation, books, word puzzles and word games, and added to that the opportunity for a third language, music;
· a career as an educator that has spanned more than thirty years, whose demands and challenges have moulded me and have allowed me to stretch, to explore facets of my self I didn’t know existed;
· caring and competent colleagues whose dedication to children inspires daily;
· a home;
· a home in a corner of the world that most people can’t drive through fast enough, obvlious to the treasures it camouflages and reserves for the discriminating eye—good, salt of the earth people, security, clean air and water, space, quiet, peace;
· neighbors who have shared a life, watched our children grow, rejoiced in their accomplishments, mourned our losses, supported us in our times of stress, and continue their integral role in our lives;
· food, so that I have never known hunger;
· music to challenge my mind, my soul, and my resilience, in which I have found comfort and satisfaction unimaginable in my youth;
· time to live to see my child’s child;
· opportunity to study, read, travel, fulfill different roles in different institutions, all the while appropriating for myself the best of the people with whom I have been fortunate to interact in those contexts;
· my harp, my most recent self-imposed challenge, providing new learning, a shift in paradigm, satisfaction, and, most important, something that belongs only to me to be woven into my identity.
You bet, I’m grateful. Every day. Not just at Thanksgiving.