Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Gratitude


I've edited this post to appear on Finer Thing Friday on The Finer Things in Life blog. I'm new to Finer Things Friday but I'm planning to visit regularly in future!! This post originally appeared last week, on October 14th, just after Canadian Thanksgiving.

Monday night’s Thanksgiving dinner was one of those moments when I was overwhelmed with gratitude - one of those “God is in His heaven and all is right with the world” moments. Except that while for us, the “God is in His heaven” bit was absolutely true, I knew that it was far from true that “all is right with the world”. But I was grateful anyway.

I felt grateful that we are all healthy, that we could be together uninterrupted and that we had such an abundance of food to put on the table. I was also grateful that my son had taken the trouble to make me smile by putting on every piece of clothing bearing maple leaves that he had ever owned (despite the fact many were from rather a long time ago and were hardly comfortable). And I was grateful that although two of the people I would have loved to have had at our table are no longer with us, our table was full of happy memories, both visible and invisible. From the heart shaped dish that my Mom used to put cranberry sauce in, the shell shaped spoon she used with it and her duck egg blue Royal Doulton gravy boat to the memories of times when we did all sit at the table together, the room echoed with the murmurs of Thanksgivings past as we all enjoyed Thanksgiving present. It was perfect.




Five minutes before we sat down, chaos reined supreme. Thanksgiving is not celebrated in England, so my husband had just got in from work and was still dealing with calls and business issues. My son was battling looming deadlines for college coursework. We are in a season of too much to do in too little time, when balance is sadly lacking in our lives. Worries plagued the back of our minds, particularly about my husband’s Aunt who is critically ill in hospital and who we are likely to lose. But for that hour, it was just us, around the table, sharing food, wine and conversation - creating memories for Thanksgiving future.

It did not matter that as we finished our pumpkin pie the phone began to ring again, and life - both the joys and sorrows of it - came flooding back into the room. For that short time, it was just us, commemorating a celebration dating back hundreds of years, taking the time to be still, and grateful - just as my ancestors did for so many years before we were even thought of. It was a visible, tangible illustration of the awesome cyclical nature of life, and a moment I will always be grateful to remember.