On the first day of November, a cousin began posting on Face Book the question, “What are you thankful for today?” People had posted the usual: family, friends, faith. I am thankful for those every day, but what was I specifically thankful for that day? I was hung up on the word “today.” At that moment I was thankful that I had met the deadline for submitting my newspaper article to the Journal.
A few days later I flipped my paper calendar to November and determined to write one new thing I was thankful for each day in its squares, backtracking to remember something specific on the previous November days. My gratitude list was easy to create since I tend to be an optimistic person. 2020 has been a year of laments for many but focusing on the positive keeps my healthy frame of mind.
On Sunday, Nov. 1, I was thankful that during this self-isolation time, I could easily view a church service on the computer and see my grandson Ethan playing the keyboard. Monday found me in the attic searching for the electric blanket again before it is needed. A cursory look had been futile. After doing some housekeeping up there, I discovered the blanket covered in an old sheet; I was thankful. When I store items during our house swapping, I need to write the location down!
My husband cooks breakfast three times a week, his “World Famous Egg McPapa” on Tuesday and Thursday and an omelet on Saturday, so Tuesday’s thankfulness was a given. On Wednesday, Nov. 4, I started a book I immediately liked, “What the Wind Knows” set in Ireland with time-travel between two periods. I have a hard time abandoning a book before I finish it, even when it seems a chore to sit down for reading time. Occasionally, the book just has a weak beginning, and I end up glad I persevered. The saying “Life is too short to read a book you don’t like” fails to resonate with me. Becoming involved with the characters at the beginning of a book is always an immediate surge of joy.
A new gratitude moment on Thursday was having my granddaughter Alex and great-grandson Jackson stop by for a short visit. While Alex discussed taxes with Paul, I took energetic Jackson outside. Almost three, he is a bundle of constant motion, but he held my hand and walked while I talked to him, pointing out flowers and trucks that passed.
Friday was Bridge day with my safe pod of three friends. We have begun playing twice a month, which breaks the alone time. While I am the weakest player, my friends never hesitate to encourage me while overlooking my blunders. They frequently laugh while recalling my incredible opening seven diamond bid when playing a few hands of Crazy Bridge, a custom we instigated after finishing our serious bridge. Not only was the bid shocking coming from me, but I successfully collected all the tricks. How could I not be thankful for such a fun, comforting five hours with wonderful friends?
On my calendar, Nov. 7, was marked as my final day in Hawaii. Of course, the trip had been postponed, but I remain optimistic that we will meet next year’s date. I could regurgitate my disappointment at the missed trip, but Scarlett O’Hara’s ending comment “I’ll think about that tomorrow” in “Gone with the Wind” should be heeded occasionally. Complaining about the inconveniences, missed celebrations with family, hours of being alone, and sadness associated with COVID-19 is too common. We forget that most Americans can count numerous blessings each day. I recognize that the United States is not a utopia. Yes, we have poverty, joblessness, sickness, and loneliness in our midst. The list goes on, but so does the list of thankfulness if we consciously think about it or if we have developed a grateful heart by already doing so. While I have known financial hardships, pain, heartbreak, disappointment, and inconvenience, I choose to look above that and appreciate the goodness in our society, the joyful moments, the little pleasures that could go unnoticed unless I concentrate on acknowledging them.
The last day of my first week of noting thankfulness in November ended with gratitude for the rain during waking hours, so I could hear the sweet sound and see the drops washing my lemon tree and camellia bushes. My North Carolina roots grew a love for the dark clouds announcing a wet day. I miss the comforting rainy day that lures me to settle down with my book for a few hours. Since the soft droplets lasted only five minutes, I could grouse about how short the rain fall was. I no longer take the rain for granted, however. Instead, the infrequency creates an instant to be thankful.
If it were possible, I would implant in my grandchildren the “glass half full” attitude because life is so much more fun when the critical negative does not dominate the minutes. This year I limited my daily thankfulness notation to only one different item, but I could have listed more. Next year, I will attempt to start the family tradition of filling a November calendar with daily gratitude. “When you’re thankful for the goodness around you, you can see life through a stronger, brighter lens that magnifies the blessings you receive daily.” (Success Staff)