Today in the US, we're celebrating Thanksgiving.
It's no Halloween, but as far as holidays go, not too shabby.
So I suppose this is the part where I'm supposed to say all the things I'm grateful for.
Which reminds me of a story...
...I was driving home after visiting a friend who had just lost her spouse.
The visit was difficult, because I knew she was in pain, but she was being so brave and courageous through it. I thought of their many years together, and how much they loved each other right to the very end when friends and family gathered around his bed, told him they loved him and were there with him, and that he should not be afraid to go if he was ready.
It was beautiful and raw and hopeful.
It tore at my soul (it still does, as I'm tearing up while writing this).
I was holding back tears when I got a phone call from a friend. He greeted me--as he always does--with a cheery hello, and asked how I was doing. The tears came freely when I realized I couldn't just give a pat answer. "Not so good," I said.
He asked what was wrong, and I explained where I had just come from...that I was feeling a lot of emotion about it all.
He immediately said, "Stop for a minute, and tell me what you're grateful for today."
At first, I was kind of pissed. This dude has always been an inspiration to me, but I've found that my personality is several happiness decibles below his. For a second I wanted to say, "STFU! I'm not grateful for ANYTHING, you jerkface. I'm fucking sad! WHY DON'T YOU LISTEN TO ME BE SAD."
But the moment passed as the other part of my brain--the part that has grown and changed and learned more in the last year about life and love and who I am and want to be--took over. I watched the road and thought for a minute.
"I'm grateful I had a chance to sit with my friend in her sadness. (sniff)
"I'm grateful she allowed me to sit with her, even though I didn't know what to say. (sniff, sniff)
"I'm grateful she allowed me to just be. And I'm grateful that in her loss, she remembers the love she and her husband shared. I'm grateful I got to see that."
By the time I was done, I was still crying, but I felt better.
As I've been reading these last few months about how we can keep ourselves soft and open, ready for all the wonderful goodness that life has to offer, and how we can truly "protect" our emotions, gratitude is a common theme.
So, today, you may not be having a good day, or life may not be panning out quite like you hoped. Maybe you've lost someone, or your job, or you're just going through a shitty time. Maybe you're not. Maybe you're on Cloud Fucking Nine.
(It's one of my favorite clouds, BTW.)
Stop for a minute, and think about what you're grateful for today.