Have you noticed the rush of complaints at the holiday season? It starts with people moaning about joining the family on Thanksgiving, and it continues. What gives?
I know the holidays are hard on people, expectations and all that, but I always thought holidays were hard on those of us who didn’t have families to complain about—and to embrace. This year I consciously choose to emphasize what I call the rush of gratitude.
I’ll be clear—I desperately miss my beloved dog, Murphy, who died last year, and family members who are gone. But here are the things I am loving and cherishing right now.
- A friend who invited me to Thanksgiving dinner.
- Friends who joined me at my own holiday celebration, and who remarked on how easy and fun it was to choose to create community (like eating turkey with me).
- A friend who fell in love with fleece sheets—in a strange leopard pattern—knew I was often uncomfortable and cold, and gifted me with my own strange leopard pattern set. They don’t fit my house—and they make me laugh every time I see them, smile at the bond they represent, and feel grateful for the coziness during the recent cold snap! (Grace the Cat is even more grateful!)
- A friend who noticed that my treasured chair, with crewel embroidery by my beloved grandmother, matched a stool embroidered by her grandmother, and gave me the stool. Do you think our grandmothers ever imagined their granddaughters would meet over business and share their art? I know my grandmother would be smiling right now, and I bet my friend’s would, too.
- People who appreciate me and Fallon, and invite us into their communities.
- A group that hasn’t appreciated me and Fallon, and made me realize that nothing inspires gratitude like learning to avoid those who have none!
Each of these events, and many more, fill me with a rush of gratitude—that despite our busy-ness and worries, we can choose to find joy, contentment, and amusement in everyday life. Every time I feel a bit off, I think of the little things that make me smile. Because they aren’t little at all—gratitude is a lifestyle, a choice, that affects everything.
Yes, I have complaints—I want my beloveds back again, which I know won’t happen. So I’ll settle for gratitude—that we were family, if only for a short time, and that it mattered.
Here’s to your rush of gratitude! Happy holidays, however you celebrate!
© 2013 Robyn M Fritz