When life is hard Thanksgiving, both the act and the holiday, become more taxing and somehow more meaningful than ever.
In fact, I think the diminutive “Turkey Day” fits better for those whose world is shiny and carefree. Let them focus on setting a festive table and keeping family traditions happy and undemanding. It’s so obvious and easy.
Which is fine. Nothing wrong with it. Easy sounds nice.
Yet… I don’t envy the tame gratitude of the undamaged. There is something precious about hard won contentment. Not the phony kind that represses and retreats, but the shards of hope than shine brightly in broken places.
Our hardest Thanksgivings have been our most beautiful. This year more than ever.
I feel a deep, desperate, primal gratitude that my children are alive today. Thankful that my husband is close – when it would be so easy and so predictable to give up on us. Thankful that we have been carried and cared for by so many loved ones for so long. Thankful for words to write and music to dance to and bodies that are (mostly) strong enough to do it. Thankful for laughter and frustration and even tears – because it means we are human and we are family and we are here.
I’m not prepared to say I’m thankful for cancer or genetic syndromes or anxiety disorders or complications of adoption or the dozens of other enemies we face. But I am so very thankful for what I’ve learned and who we are all becoming as a result. I’m so proud of my people: family and friends, and strangers even, who face the same struggles with such resilience, honesty and courage. The world is full of amazing people, more than I knew before.
It’s not been an easy year, but it’s enough.
Have a more-than-merely-happy Thanksgiving!
Note for confused American readers: It is Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend.
October 11th, 2015 at 6:41 pm
I am Thankful for you Christie and Glen and your family …. for opening your hearts and sharing your ups and downs and all the in-betweens …. for sharing your children with me 5 days a week so I have the joy of watching them grow and learn. For sharing your tips for coping through challenging times that have helped me more than you can know. You have helped me be thankful and appreciate my family and my daughter and the special friends in my life even more. Thank you for being you!
October 11th, 2015 at 7:19 pm
gratitude – often overlooked. when we express it, it becomes a gift to us too – for it has an unexpected yet inevitable way of turning despair into hope… thanks for sharing.
October 12th, 2015 at 4:33 pm
Thanks for sharing, Christie. Your thanksgiving message is both challenging and encouraging, and a reminder of what is really important. There was a time when I used to envy people who seemed to have easy lives with no stresses or challenges. Over the years I have come to realize a few things; 1. Some people have private battles that we know nothing about, 2. People who seemed to have it easy have more difficulty being thankful, 3. Going through difficult times teaches us things and helps us to gain new perspectives, so in some ways, it is a gift (although it sure does not feel like it at the time!).
October 16th, 2015 at 10:36 am
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