Sometimes a little perspective is good. Yesterday, talking with my friend on the phone and discussing our respective Thanksgiving plans, she planted a reminder so stark by comparison that I felt startled and saw my present life with new eyes.
This year there will be 11 of us at my table--children, grandchildren, and a couple of their friends. The food will be non-traditional with no big golden bird as a centerpiece. Salmon will be the highlight but with sliced turkey and ham available too. And many sides. I've consulted everyone and asked them for their favorite dish and there will be something to please everyone. It will be fun and different. With such a crowd coming, I've had a brainstorm for fitting them all in -- I am moving my dining room furniture into the spacious living room and the couch and chairs are getting relegated to the dining room. I'll serve appetizers and drinks on my server. I'll use my new dishes and I'm so glad I bought 12 place settings. I described all of this to my friend on the phone.
And then my friend asks me, did I remember five years ago, just after she had moved back here from California, and I had decided not to even have Thanksgiving that year. I sent my kids off to celebrate elsewhere and I stayed home alone and did nothing. What a dark place I was in at the time. Separated from my husband and life in limbo. Feeling terribly wounded body and soul.
How did I get to here from there?
I don't know if I have answers or any profound advice. Only to say that not only do bad things happen in all our lives, but that this is evidence of the resilience of the human spirit when we allow it to be. I know I have a basic spark in me that loves life and people and looks for good in the world. I am an optimist in spirit. And seeking joyful things brings joy in abundance.
It has been a good year as I look back. A very good year. And I am happy with all the people and experiences that have graced my life. I've lost what religious leanings I ever had, and I don't think the cosmos or a rabbit's foot have any say in my life either. So I'm never quite sure now what to do with feelings of gratitude. But I do feel, nevertheless, that my life is good and not entirely of my own doing.
For me, at this point in my life, let it suffice to say that I know I have a good life and I sincerely and humbly appreciate that and will not take for granted the good things. And will do my best to weather the bad when they come. And accept all life has to offer with increasing understanding and grace.