I’m grateful for elastic waistbands.

When asking people about their plans for the Thanksgiving holiday, I’ve heard some amusing responses. Some of the comments include: “I have to cook for twenty people; it’s going to be a madhouse”. “We’re going to our daughter’s home but I miss having left-overs when someone else cooks”. “I’ll probably eat too much and totally screw up my diet”. Thankfully I’m someone who seeks the positive in a situation; Instead of feeling disheartened with these responses, I feel grateful for the outlook “I” have on life. 

Traditionally, Thanksgiving is a time to count our blessings and celebrate with gratitude. It’s also time to share with those less fortunate. It’s a time to be grateful to have the ability to “cook for twenty people and have a madhouse”….not the burden of it.  It’s a time to be grateful to “leave the leftovers with your daughter” and cook your own turkey on Friday. It’s even a time to “eat too much and appreciate elastic waistbands”. More than anything, it’s a time to appreciate what we have; especially the people with who we are able to share time and journey through this life together.

Our world is experiencing a lot of stress and sadness with the terrorist attacks; global warming and numerous uncertainties of our very existence; still there are plenty of reasons to be grateful. I am grateful for a simple breath; it gives me life. A smile; it give me joy and comfort. A gentle touch; floods me with warmth. If you’re finding it difficult to find something to be grateful for this Thanksgiving, think about what you can share with someone else. Share the smile; share the touch or the positive comment and compliment. Then stop for a moment and feel the gratitude you have for having a smile to give away; a hand to extend a touch; a brain with which you can use to think of a positive comment to pass along. When you’re feeling disheartened, gratitude has the power to energize. Gratitude will bring you hope when you’re feeling gloom and desperation. I know that for me personally, gratitude has helped me to cope in the midst of hard times. In the midst of crisis, gratitude doesn’t suddenly appear automatically. I don’t “automatically” feel grateful when a tragedy strikes or when a difficulty arises in my life. But it is gratitude that makes me think more gratefully. There is a big difference between feeling grateful and being grateful….and acting grateful.

I am grateful for the life I have; my gratitude list is never-ending. Thank you all for your support, encouragement and concern; your guiding council is most appreciated and valued.

Gratefully yours,

Annamarie

Thanksgiving is best epitomized to me with the following parable about heaven and hell.

An old woman is nearing the end of her life. As she closes her eyes one night, she sees a bright light and is transported to another realm. She doesn’t pass away just then, instead, she returns to the living world to find her family gathered at her bedside. She smiles and whispers to her children, “I have seen the great hereafter.”

“The great whereafter?” Her son asks.

“Heaven and hell. I have seen them both.”

The old woman goes on to explain, “I came upon a door, and behind it was hell. What I saw there confounded me. There was a dining hall filled with rows of tables, each table teaming with a magnificent feast. It looked and smelled delicious, yet the people seated around the tables were emaciated and sickly, moaning with hunger.

“As I came closer, I realized that each person held a very long spoon. With it they could reach the feast, but the spoon was too long. Though they tried and tried again, they couldn’t bring nourishment to their mouth. In spite of the abundance before them, they were starving.”

She continued, “I left this horrid place and opened a new door, one that led to heaven. Inside, I was surprised to see that very same scene before my eyes, a dining hall filled with row upon row of tables, and on those tables, a marvelous feast. But instead of moaning with hunger, the people around the tables were sitting contentedly, talking with one another, sated from the abundance before them.

“Like those in hell, these people were holding very long spoons. As I watched, a woman dipped her spoon into a bowl of stew before her, but rather than struggling to feed herself, she extended her spoon out and fed the man seated across from her. This person, now satisfied and no longer hungry, gave thanks and returned the favor, leaning across the table to feed the woman.”

“I suddenly understood the difference between heaven and hell,” the old woman said to her family. “It is neither the qualities of the place, nor of the abundance of resources, but the way people treat each other.

“In hell, we are selfish. We would rather go hungry than give the people we don’t care for the pleasure of eating.”

“But in heaven, we feed each other. We put trust in those around us, and never go hungry.”

 

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