“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” G.K. Chesterton
I just read through Thanksgiving posts from the past ten years, warming my innards with recollections and favorite quotes, like this one from Chesterton. For our 2021 Thanksgiving we have two returning college students to cover the couches with tired bodies, long legs hanging over the edges as mom and two cats survey in bemused pride, looking for a place to snuggle in. Food items fly off the shelves in the pantry and fridge and the welcome voices of old friends echo from the basement and through the house. Being together and healthy meets my gold standard for happiness, and there's much to be grateful for this year, though the pandemic persists and mask mandates returned to our county today.
The post below comes from 2011 when our college junior was in fourth grade and our college freshman only in second. Daniel wasn't yet in elementary school and now he's studying for his driver's permit test. The passage of years sweeps me off my feet, but the guardrails of thanks and gratitude put me right-side-up again. Happy Thanksgiving to all.
Thanksgiving's here again, carrying its yearly reminder to be grateful for health, family, friends, and well-being. Each year I attempt to instill gratitude in my children, frantically wedging a doorstop of thankfulness in the revolving door of "but he got more!" and "when do I get one?" and "he looked at my cereal box!" We have no crops other than cereal but there are other bounties to count and cherish, and I have recently found that opening myself to a sense of awe, wonder and mystery helps me to see our blessings in a whole new light.
I've accumulated a short list of people and events that generated a sense of wonder in the past weeks: first, I am in awe at the patience of my husband with the children. On Saturday he played eight games of Candyland with the youngest in conjunction with a simultaneous game of Settlers with the oldest, followed by a series of football routes in the backyard with our older son. His focus on the kids and his ability to stay cool amidst temper tantrums, petty injuries and constant requests for his time amaze me. Yesterday he kept me from missing my one day of work per week as a teacher at the Science Museum as he worked from home in the afternoon to watch our sick child.
My jaw hung open in wonder as my oldest child performed her solo in the fourth grade musical last week. Alone on stage with the plain curtain for backdrop, she sang the first eight measures with the microphone off, her voice all but muted in the large gym. The music teacher gestured for the music to stop, the microphone experts to correct the problem, and for my daughter to pause - all in front of a silent audience of more than two hundred parents, friends and relatives. Problem fixed, music re-started, she began again, her lone voice a bit tremulous but on key and supported by perfectly rehearsed gestures and inflections. I was amazed by her self-possession.
I marvel at deep friendships and the commitment shown by those who constantly make me a priority in their lives despite pressures and problems of their own. I wonder at the perseverance of friends and loved ones who are ill, whose grace and humor and love for their own families keeps them going past the point of endurance. I wonder at the full moon, clean water, snow on the mountains and the sound of the choir in our new church building. Any of these can move me to tears with the sweet pleasure / pain of recognition that a golden moment must be fleeting. All the more to be grateful for sharing, touching, hearing and seeing those amazing parts of our lives that would be invisible except for wonder. Wishing everyone a happy and wonder-full Thanksgiving.