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Gratitude and Grace

At Thanksgiving, it’s customary to take stock of your good fortune. During gatherings of family and friends, we often reflect upon the year, assess where we are, and tick off those items for which we are most grateful.   

Inevitably, however, there are those for whom Thanksgiving might not arouse feelings of gratitude. Some for whom the holidays don’t inspire the word thanks.

This year, while counting your blessings, be aware of those for whom blessings might feel scarce.

The grieving widow and the empty chair at the head of the holiday table.

A mother who is wondering how she’ll make rent next month, much less buy Christmas presents for the kids.    

The friend still in shock from an unexpected loss of a job or their health.

A family picking up the pieces of a home, wrecked through natural disaster or divorce.  

Just to name a few. 

Unfortunately, none of us are immune to the vicissitudes of life. Every one of us will experience a Thanksgiving where thankfulness is unattainable, and hope requires a leap of faith.  

An empty chair

A decade ago, a dear cousin died in the hospital on Thanksgiving. After receiving the word, the adults in the group didn’t have the heart to finish cooking. Instead, we turned the oven off, got in the car and headed to Sonic, one of the few places open that day.  Our Thanksgiving “dinner” of crispy tenders and All-American Dogs was eaten in the car. 

On that day, Thanksgiving was grim. Yet, by the next year, a much happier occasion, we reflected fondly upon our Sonic Thanksgiving, and it has become family lore.   

Knowing that fortune can be fleeting helps us not take it for granted. Realizing life can change instantly forces us to savor those special moments even more.  And for those for whom this Thanksgiving is a day that must simply be endured, know that one day you too will feel blessed and whole again.   

Happy Thanksgiving.