Our pastor quoted Diana Butler Bass yesterday in his sermon. Butler Bass wrote in her book Grateful, that gratitude was often hard to feel as a child. Not knowing the full context, I will share only what I remember what our pastor shared.
When Diana was asked to write thank you notes for gifts, she wrote the words, "Thank you for…," even if her heart was not always in it.
In this quote from her website, she explores gratitude.
Although most of us know that gratitude is good — and good for us — there is a gap between our desire to be grateful and our ability to behave gratefully.
Have you ever felt that way?
There have been times, during this pandemic especially, that it’s been hard to feel thankful. I couldn’t hug my kids and grandkids, or my friends. Or go to the grocery store and take my time, or shop for other things I needed. And less freedom to move around as I would like.
And yet, we had food. We could see our grandkids (with a distance between us) and communicate with them by Facetime and phone. We had a home and yard to move around in, land to grow a garden, even when not all seeds and plants were as plenteous in 2020. We could get our prescriptions delivered, and in time pick up our groceries curbside after ordering online. We ordered this and that online because it was possible. And we could see friends who were online via Zoom and other means.
And people will say, “But it’s not the same.” And truly it isn’t. But I’m not sure how I would have gotten through the pandemic (that’s still going, unfortunately) without those online opportunities.
There were times, initially, when it felt good to have fewer responsibilities, less rushing around. When I took up scrapbooking again to fill the time I wasn’t going places. A creative outlet for some of that energy.
The day I could start hugging my grandkids and grown kids, I had this great lump of gratitude in my throat. Finally, and months to make up for. And while we’re still being careful in so many ways (masks, sanitizing, limiting other contacts), I can finally spend time with my family. And that, my friends, is gratitude lit to the max!
Lest we leave the first reason behind for thanksgiving on this holiday weekend, remember to say thanks for the bounty of harvest, the food that growers, farmers, and nature make possible. And especially for the Creator responsible for these gifts.
In spite of the pandemic, or maybe because of it, we’ve had time to think, recall and remember those things and the people we’re thankful for, and used the technology available to us to keep connections with families, friends and those we care about.
What is it that you’re grateful for this Thanksgiving?