I love Thanksgiving because I need thanksgiving. I need to practice gratitude, and I need to do it every moment of the day. I need to see my full hands. I need to stop and offer thanks. I need thanksgiving because I need to taste joy—oh, how I need to taste joy!—in the midst of the days that don’t go my way and the days that do.
Tim and I were talking the other night about a hard thing. I know whenever someone says something publicly about a hard thing, it’s only natural to wonder what that hard thing is, and I know I generically say things about hard things a lot, but personally I am convinced hard things are hard things whatever they are and however they happen. What difference does it make what the thing is, at least in terms of talking about it? If your heart is broken by your best friend or your heart is broken by a loved one’s death, your heart is still broken either way. Life is filled with so many of these little and big heartbreaks, and we all feel them, no one is immune. Maybe it’s what we do with them that matters? Maybe it’s what we do with them that heals their hurt. That’s what I’m thinking about today, alongside photos of squash pudding, on this day before Thanksgiving. I remember the two of us sitting there, talking about this hard thing, analyzing it, dissecting it, the way my overthinking brain has to do, and I said to Tim without any irony, This hurts. Because sometimes, you guys, stuff hurts, it just does, and you can say anything you want about how to avoid or get away from that, but it’s true.
I read a book earlier this year that you’ve probably heard about, One Thousand Gifts, thanks to a giveaway over at Cranny + Me, and I knew, going into it, it would talk about giving thanks for small things, but I didn’t know it would talk about giving thanks for hard things, for painful things, for the things that open your tight fists and increase your faith. I think about it all the time now: I am humiliated, and I think how there is a Being greater than me working this humiliation for my good. I am forgotten, and I think how He hasn’t forgotten me. I am laying next to Tim in bed at night, still shocked that he’s my husband, and I hear myself whispering, even in my broken human mess, My cup overflows. In my sorrow and in my happiness, in all of it, I am being given so much, every moment.
I feel so blessed and happy and full this Thanksgiving—so overwhelmed, to be honest. The crazy beautiful thing about gratitude is that the more you practice it, the more you feel it. You change. I am telling you, I change. I can be deeply hurt and giving thanks will pull me out of it. I can be grieving and giving thanks will be the comfort. And I can be comfortable and happy, not a cloud in the sky, and giving thanks makes my heart even fuller than I thought it could be.
I keep hearing people say Thanksgiving is their favorite holiday—Maybe this is why? Maybe we all experience this reality, this joy born and doubled, when we stop to look at our full hands. Maybe the founders of America knew this, too. I am glad they did, and I am glad the country in which I live chooses to remember it, and I am glad for every one of you, out there, in America and spread elsewhere around the world. Thank you for sharing life with us in a small way here. We’re thinking about you this holiday week and about the miracle your kindnesses have been to us.
Happy Thanksgiving, friends.