A centerpiece of thanks (and joy).
Fall in general is a beautiful time of year, and as November ushers in the winter, it invites a certain change of pace that is often welcome to many of us who find ourselves stuck in routines and habits. It is interesting however, that the beginning of the season of thankfulness and gratitude begins here – November.
After all, November does have a reputation for being a gloomy month. It is the beginning of cold, dark and gray for those of us in the Pacific Northwest. All-in-all, it is not the most stand-out month on the calendar. But perhaps, what may appear to be nonsensical may actually be a brilliantly designed interruption. Perhaps the timing couldn’t be better chosen.
We hear a lot about thankfulness at this time of year, but what is thankfulness? Is it limited to recreating our grandmother’s perfect pecan pie? Is it about having just the right place settings dressing the beautiful Thanksgiving table, ready to welcome our loved ones? Perhaps it is these things, and more.
~ A specific time to recognize and appreciate the value of our lives and those
lives around us.
~ To take note of the elegance of our surroundings, sometimes as simple as the
way a bead of dew shimmers on a fall leaf.
Perhaps it is also about reflecting on the blessings present in difficult times, including the peaceful passing of a loved one or the relief that comes with someone admitting to a struggle that has kept them entangled.
Ann Voskamp shares in her book “1,000 Gifts” that as long as thanks is possible, joy is possible. To see with new eyes, recognizing the hints of beauty and hope around us even when it appears that all is mundane, ordinary, even dreary. Like November.
Some people have the privilege of living their life from one mountain top to the next, but many of us live a life of Novembers. Ordinary, sometimes uncomfortable and cold, sometimes dull and often unpredictable as circumstances can pounce on us, changing our patterns and routines in the blink of an eye. Even more so the reason why Thanksgiving must happen here and now.
Being thankful for the big and small doesn’t have to imply that we agree with the challenges of life and the pain that surrounds us. Ann Voskamp goes on to explain,
“Why would the world need more anger, more outrage? How does it save the world to reject unabashed joy when it is joy that saves us? Rejecting joy to stand in solidarity with the suffering doesn’t rescue the suffering. The converse does. The brave who focus on all things good and all things beautiful and all things true, even in the small, who give thanks for it and discover joy even in the here and now, they are the change agents who bring the fullest Light to all the world.”
Whether your losses are deep or you’ve barely scratched the surface of the struggle of life, choosing to be thankful in the midst of it all is like choosing to be a revolutionary.
This Thanksgiving, may we choose to be revolutionaries at our jobs, in our families, and to ourselves. May we take note of the small blessings, without negating the struggle. May we take control of our perceptions rather than letting outside circumstances tell us what we should think in feel.
“I only live the full life when I live fully in the moment.” ~ Ann Voskamp
May you live fully in the moment this Thanksgiving, this November, and ever after.