I have been reflecting on gratitude this Thanksgiving week. When we pray at our children’s service at St John’s we go around the room and pray for people or needs, and then we offer thanks. The kids come up with some wonderful things to be thankful for, very creative. Their parents giggled nervously when they depart from the standard “family” or “house”. But I love when they say snow or cookies or their doll because those things are worth being thankful for every day!
There is much that I don’t think to say because of my privilege. I don’t think to be grateful for a garage with a garage door opener. I take that for granted. I don’t think to be thankful for a spice cabinet or a tea cabinet (I have both). I don’t think to be thankful for a backyard with trees in it. Or that I can drive almost anywhere without fear of being randomly pulled over by the police. I don’t think to be thankful that I am accepted for who I am with little question.
It’s the children that I interact with at our local elementary that remind me of the abundance of my blessings. They don’t have many of the simple things that I take for granted. And conversely, they see things as blessings that I would ignore. They remind me to be thoughtful, to think creatively about gratitude, and that I might be more vigilant in recognizing all that I have.
They also remind me that a kind word and a little encouragement are worth more than just about anything. And that being cared about and caring is golden too. This Thanksgiving I am going to spend the whole day noticing. I am going to notice my son’s sense of humor, the thoughtfulness of my friends, the richness and beauty of my home, and the aromas of amazing food. I am going to notice my ability to walk up and down stairs and to call my parents and to shut the door of my bedroom at the end of the day.
And as the gratitude of one day of thanksgiving per year fades into the consumerism of Black Friday, I am going to try, really try, to keep noticing. What are you especially thankful for this year?