I am not, naturally, a thankful person: I notice problems more than blessings, frustrations more than good gifts, mistakes more than successes. You could say a million nice things to me and one mean one—just one—and I’ll be darned if that’s not the part I won’t forget, ever. My perspective is polar opposite to rose-colored glasses, my attitude completely un-Pollyanna. It’s really unfortunate.
But that is why I love Thanksgiving.
People like me need reminders to count their blessings, just like some people need to remember appointments or how to get projects done on time. We—the natural analyzers, the closet worriers—can get lost in our critical nature, our ability to dissect things so far you forget what you’re looking at. I need Thanksgiving in my life. I need something that forces me to stop and see how full my hands are (and they are full, indeed). And I am just now learning that being thankful is more than making a list or saying certain words. It’s about really appreciating, mentally recognizing in that crazy analytical way I tend to see things, how good something is.
For example –
Sometime last month, at a point when I was halfway through reading a book on gratitude, I was trying to make a turn onto a busy street and found myself wishing traffic would let up. This wasn’t the normal, Oh, that’d be nice, kind of desire; it was passionate. My heart rate was elevated, I was gripping the steering wheel, leaning forward, mumbling things out loud to my empty car. And then, just like that, cars parted, I made the turn, with clear sailing up ahead, and all was well. Then I started worrying about something else. It hit me that day like it never had before: when I can’t have what I want, it is enormously important, all I can think about; but when I get it, I forget it. Pretty fast.
Another example –
I was thinking the other day, what if everything I didn’t appreciate went away? No more blue skies if I didn’t notice them. No more hot water in my morning shower. No full refrigerator. No money in the bank. No one to talk to when I’m discouraged late at night. No one to hear my prayers. No Word of God that is as relevant today as it was when it was written. No steadfast love. No reminders of providence.
But then again, the very fact that that isn’t true, that gifts don’t cease to exist when I cease to appreciate them, makes me thankful, too.
Because just like negativity catches on, infecting more and more of you until it hits people around you, so does thankfulness, you know? I am thankful for that. I am thankful for people who infect me with their gratitude, for people who point me to truth, for reminders that even difficult things have good in them because they remind us heaven is there, not here, for example.
And while this may not be much of a food post, as it has no recipe, no kitchen photos, no restaurant review (just a few highlighted recipes below), it is still posted on my food blog, shared with all you food readers, which reminds me of one more thing I am thankful for: every one of you.
Thanksgiving Recipes from Food Loves Writing
This is essentially a roundup of Thanksgiving-type recipes, all previously posted here on the site but not previously grouped together. Hope your holiday is lovely.