On thanksgiving, it is so often noted that we should give thanks for the things that we are so blessed for having in our lives. Health, happiness, and love is usually universal in appreciation. Even money, if you qualify and hold quantity in high regards. Nonetheless, it can be agreed upon, that giving thanks and appreciation on a day like today is not just important, but necessary.
After all, in our society, we have a day celebrating and honoring many various qualities, and even others celebrating various fictional characters. It is imperative that at least one is dedicated to appreciation, and is honored for its gratification and self-less motive. Thanksgiving – a day of family, friends, sports, and fellowship. A day of giving thanks for what we have in our life.
It becomes so cliché, but how many of us actually understand what that means? How many of us actually give thanks for life?
Let it be known that I believe that Thanksgiving is the purest holiday of the year. It is one of the rare holidays in our nation, and on the calendar that isn’t packed with gimmicks, falsified by media, marketing, and corporations, and not altered from its original meaning. There aren’t any silly characters or ridiculous routines. It’s the sheer enjoyment of bonding over a meal.
Now, many may say Christmas, but Christmas is the sheer example of everything stated above. It is amazing how Christmas, a holiday dedicated to the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, has become an excuse for shopping, elaborate parties, decorating, and “getting in the mood” with an abundance of Christmas music without any real reason of why it is being done.
Today, I had an opportunity to understand a little bit of what true appreciation and giving thanks entails.
That opportunity came when I delivered a tray of food to an elderly lady my mother cares for. The elderly lady, in early eighties, is of a rare kind, as she still functions and operates coherently for her age. Much like many elderly persons, she is limited physically at this point of her life, yet, is more than capable of accomplishing tasks needed for a quality lifestyle.
However, the elderly lady lives alone. All by herself. Without anyone. She has outlived most of her children and her husband, and carries the burden of that with her for the rest of her life. Her house, littered with memories that are sure to be reminders of what was, and standards that pale in comparison to the current day.
On this day, I decided to spend sometime with her, helping put her food away, and just relaxing for a bit. The mere fact of another soul in the apartment was enough to energize and put a smile on her face. As we sat and chatted as she ate her Thanksgiving meal, we chatted about various things, including giving thanks and death.
She slowly went from discussing her present, to that of her past of when times were well, or “when I was young and crazy as opposed to old and insane” as she hysterically put it. Listening to her talk about preparing meals of the past for her husband and friends were quite interesting as she precisely decorated her story with details ad flair.
and then she said…”And now look at where I am.”
She pointed to the quiet, dark, empty apartment on a cold Thanksgiving day.
She followed up with, “but you know what, I’m thankful for what I had. Not many people give thanks for the past, but you know what, it’s just as important.”
The statement had wheels going in my head. How amazing is it for this lady, who is alone on a Thanksgiving day, to be so open about giving thanks? No depression? No bitterness? No burden?
As I remained seated across from her and in awe of her words, she proceeded towards acknowledging death. She uttered the word without fear, and with such confidence. She stated that she is “aware that death is around the corner.” She continued on stating that, “most people on Thanksgiving are thankful for what they have.” “I am thankful for nothing more than time".
It was an amazing twist on the already popular phrase of “being thankful for what you do have, rather than being upset about what you don’t.” Here is this lady who is thankful for life! Whether it was good, or bad. She was thankful to experience it.
And as I gave her a hug, said my farewell, and headed for my car, I was still in amazement of someone at that age spending the rest of this very day alone with years of better times in the memory bank, and having the ability to whole heartedly give thanks.
Thankful for life. Imagine that.