On this Thanksgiving weekend I am reminded just how much I have to be thankful for. The list is long! And overwhelming. And wonderful.
I am thankful for enduring and new friendships, both equally cherished and appreciated. Just this weekend I am thrilled to have dear friends and former neighbours from back home in Toronto visiting and it is a joy to hear “Wow” around every corner as it is their first time on our West Coast.
I am thankful I have a vocation that still invokes passion. I have been blessed to be in educational publishing for 24 years. I’ve been fortunate to be stretched professionally in just about every role you can have in publishing for 3 very different companies. And I get to learn and grow every day. How lucky is that?
I am especially grateful for my family! Even though we are a smaller group now, missing our dear Dad, Jack, Thanksgiving is a time to hold each other close while remembering the ones we miss so much. This week Facebook reminded me of the many trips Mum, Dad and I took over Thanksgiving weekends in Ontario, to the brilliant Muskoka’s and the rustic Manitoulin Island. And to my sister Jen’s place for many wonderful Thanksgiving suppers, with all of us gathered around her kitchen table, eating, laughing, remembering. Having that special time together doesn’t make missing them now any easier but it does make me so grateful for how much we enjoyed each other’s company when we had the chance.
I also have one more thing to be thankful for that usually does not make this list each year, but is especially important this year, this month. I am grateful for my health! Just under a month ago I had a large tumour removed that, thankfully, was benign. I have been struggling with this “thing” for a while now and this summer it finally grew to a size that it could be easily found and then identified in a routine exam. The week before I went on my “Great Farm Hutch Adventure” in fact. My doctor smiled carefully and said “do not worry, we will deal with this when you get back. Enjoy your trip.” Easy for her to say! But I DID enjoy my trip. I took the photo above on a brilliant sunny day in southern Saskatchewan and I remember stopping and saying “Wow” and “how beautiful.” That response of wonder happened a LOT on that great drive, despite my worry. Most importantly, I loved spending time with my friends and family from back home. You helped me feel safe, and very much loved. I am sorry I did not share this news back then. Truthfully, I didn’t know what to say. I was a bit scared and really hoped for a positive outcome. And that’s just what happened. Even though, as a result of this surgery, I am now 100% certain there will never be little red-headed Patti’s running around this world in the future (plus, let’s face it, I’m well past my best before date), I am more than happy to be cool Aunt Pat to my niece and nephews. The time I got to share back home this summer with dear friends and family was precious and I am grateful for that gift.
Yet gratitude is a tricky thing. You would assume this health scare would see me dancing in the streets and grinning from ear to ear. Don’t get me wrong. That call from the doctor after the surgery. THAT call…and the relief that followed brought me to my knees pretty quickly. I wept like there was no tomorrow. But there was. There IS. It’s just that the past few years, the moves, the job resets, the grief over losing Dad, and enduring the discomfort and pain from this “thing” has left it’s mark. I’m too exhausted to dance just yet. I think the only word I can use to describe my current state is “punch drunk.”
Thankfully, this week, I read a wonderful piece on gratitude from one of Canada’s gems, Jann Arden. Many of you know Jann as a talented singer-songwriter. She is also a talented writer and shares her life story graciously, with a good deal of humility wrapped in wit. I follow her on Facebook and one day this past week she wrote a post on gratitude that spoke directly to me and inspired the title of my post today. Jann recently lost her Dad too, and is supporting her Mum the best way she knows how through the devastation called Alzheimer’s. Our stories run parallel. She writes:
“Living in gratitude involves a lot more than saying the words.
It is a way of existing. In poker you often hear the phrase “All in”. Living in a real state of gratitude means just that- every second has to be spent in a state thankfulness. Being grateful for pain lessens the hurt. Being grateful for loss may not make any sense, but it’s a way of allowing your heart and mind to let things go instead of dragging them up the mountain.
It’s interesting to me how much I gain from letting things go.
How much I learn is directly linked to how often I fail.
Every single time you don’t get it right, is a building block to becoming a better version of yourself.
We spend so much time worrying about dying, and that causes us to worry about living.
Let the universe have it’s way with you.
It’s a pretty amazing experience when you really think about it.
Flying is falling.
So, on this Thanksgiving weekend, I am “letting the universe have it’s way with me.” I’m learning to let go and just be. I plan to live this wonderful life one beautiful day at a time. With thanks!