One of the joys of Chemo is the unpredictability of sleep. I both need tons and can’t on demand. Hence, this 3:23 AM writing contribution. My blog said thank you. The rest of me does not.
Being grateful requires we recognize there is so much more to life than what we put into it, and so much of it is a gift we didn’t even ask for. The delight in a home made pie is more because we see the time put into it. A real life phone call with a friend or letter or visit restores more than simply a relationship, it fixes parts of the self we don’t recognize are broken. Meals that aren’t merely meals but feasts that include joy and conversations that last beyond the moment matter. Memories are formed from people interacting with each other deliberately, wasting time together, whether playing checkers or Smashbrothers or drawing or cooking.
That’s why 2020 was so difficult for many, because the normal way of living of encountering others abruptly ceased for over a year. We need to rediscover the necessity of giving thanks for ordinary time before launching into the joyful waiting of Advent. Yes my house already has lights and a tree up and we decorated it with the grandparents as part of being deliberate and creating memories. Deliberate actions with others creates joy even when it’s simple stuff like listening to a child practice a musical instrument or doing the dishes together.
The togetherness component is often forgotten. We as adults need to loose ourselves in the experience of being with our children and that can be hard when we’re used to being the organizers, the strategists, the leaders, the commanders, the facilitators. We need to invite our children into the experiences and allow ourselves to be part of the experiences too. I get my ego handed to me on a silver platter when we play Smashbrothers although I occasionally can land a blow that surprises everyone. (I’m learning but I can’t quite see everything on the screen the way seasoned gamers can as an occasional player).
My fingers have a muscle memory for a move. I can’t tell you what they do, only what it does, but it does let me knock someone down in an impressive fashion as Pikachu.
So Happy Thanksgiving. Be deliberately thankful and tell your kids why. Come up with a list of things you are grateful for, because gratitude is a learned thing –awareness that you have been given without asking, and that you have been given what you have asked for and more, and that others bring joy and beauty and hope and love and life and good things to your life. Thank God for the same reasons. Then, do what you can to be that to those around you, and make these last few days before Advent, a celebration of ordinary time.