One of the friends I appreciate is Quanita Roberson, who I’ve known now for a couple of years. Quanita is a good listener and an honest friend. She’s also a thoughtful and skilled colleague. One of the things I appreciate about Quanita is her practice of gratitude. Her Facebook posts often include a simple statement, “I am grateful for _____.” The blank could be filled in with the name of a person and an important memory. It could be filled in with the word, carrots. It is a kind of witnessing that she does and it feels real.
It is Thanksgiving Day in the United States. Today will be a day for many to gather in various layers of family or friends. There will be a fair amount of turkey served as main course for celebratory meals. For many, there will be games played — cards and board games are common in my family. I’m aware that days like today also bring out sadness and grief. I know this part of myself and simply say it here to acknowledge that just because a cultural story is dominant, that doesn’t make it true for everyone.
With a tip of my hat to Quanita, and permission to myself to just be simple, here are a few for me.
I am grateful for:
- the roof over my head that gives me a place of ease for silence
- family that I’ve created memory with — those that I grew up with in Canada, and those that are coming in new
- being a dad — in particular to Zoe now approaching the transition of marriage, Isaac now in mission service, and Elijah who as a 10 year-old somehow is teaching me a lot about kindness
- other layers of family, newfound family in second marriage
- “milk line”, the term a close friend uses for people that are not bloodline, but feel like it — friends that I recognize as essential and natural life companions
- a spouse who continues to create her path and is gracious about how that is related yet sometimes different than my path
- freedom of choice — well, mostly
- safety — spaciousness
- work that welcomes, requires me to be honest from my belly and that contributes to goodness in the world (or an organization, or a team)
- wise, kind elders
- a day on which one my belly can relax into simple gratitudes as the most obvious thing to do
Off to some cooking now. Preparing a few things to offer with those that I get to be with today. Sweet potatoes, caramelized like my Grandma used to do. Turkey, buttered and baked, that I hope will offer ample leftovers for my favorite, turkey sandwich with stuffing and dill pickles.