“Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving.”
The golden-deliciousness of falling leaves and the crispness in the air can mean only one thing: fall has unmistakably encroached on my beloved summer. I truly wish I were a soul who thrived in all seasons, but alas, it is not so. I had the notion the other day, however, that if fall were not the precedent to winter, I’m sure I would relish it much more than just the deciduous aesthetics and the inevitable, ever-present aroma of pumpkin bread. Though, I’ll admit, there is one thing about this time of year that does bring comfort despite the impending abysmal doom of winter that shadows it. “That”, my peeps, is the feeling of gratitude that arrives just as naturally as the changing colors of the season.
Dad. Amongst all else, for teaching me about how to think so that it makes me a better person. Mama. Amongst all else, for your anchoring encouragement of “Faith, not Fear.” Brothers. For your honest hearts and your funny bones. Sisters. For your virtue. God. For His unfailing mercy. Christ. For His sacrifice. Ears. For their ability to hear the music I love so poignantly. Edith, Victor, Jane, Goethe, Lucy Maud, Flaubert. For the words they have written which have sculpted, refined, inspired, and changed my soul. Heart. Literally, for it’s perseverance in beating each and every minute. Figuratively, for how ardently it beats. It is a hopeful, fervent, enduring heart. And It, more than anything else, is my most reliable reminder of what matters most. Tastebuds. For the exquisite joy they have granted me. (I wanted to put this one at the very top, but even I am not that shameful.) Shawn. For everything. You are my rock. Maddles. For giving me the ever-so-smallest glimpse into the future joys of motherhood. Memories. For their ability to endure, when their begetters, by design, cannot. Writing. For the catharsis and self-awareness that it cultivates. Thomas S. Monson. For his unfailing optimism. My Tricks. For everything that each of you has brought to my life. I am a better girl for being in your company. Home. For it’s sanctity and comfort.
Make no mistake, I am wholly undeserving of all of the above. But until the universe and all else that conspires in my favor realizes it, I will cherish each like a hoarder until my dying day. Shakespeare said, “They do not love that do no show it“, and I would venture to say the same is true for gratitude. Are we truly grateful for our blessings if we do not give thanks where and how thanks are due? True gratitude is probably more than just saying “Thank you, thank you very much” (I’m also thankful for Elvis, obvi). I think when our lives are characterized by optimism, and service, and concern for others, and when we have an unrelenting hope, that that is probably when we can claim gratitude as a characteristical appendage.
Any virtue, if it is sincere, is more than just a feeling- it is a way of living. It’s almost effortless at this time of the year to recognize how full our lives are; it’s harder to maintain that recognition as the season fades. This Thanksgiving, may we not only identify those things in our lives which make it better, but resolve to let that gratitude reside in our hearts a little longer than usual. There are oh so many ways we can be the very thing that someone else is grateful for, and that, perhaps, is the simplest and surest way of showing that we are indeed grateful recipients for all “our cribs, our cars, our pools, our jewels”… You feel me?
If anything brings comfort, it is recognizing what we do have, even when our circumstances may seem bleaker than February in the 801.
Happy Thanksgiving, and Happy giving of thanks. Peace and Love.