November 26, 2010

Like any good thirtysomething, my Thanksgiving morning included an indulgence in what I share with most everyone I’ve ever known, Facebook.  And the first status I saw, from my always-thinking friend Scott, was this quote:

Thankfulness unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more.  It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Thankfulness makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.– Melody Beattie

Melody Beattie, whose life work is educating people about their busybody, controlling, worrywart and/or overbearing behaviors (sometimes referred to as codependence), is legend here in the land of 10,000 lakes and a million substance abuse treatment centers.  Just the notion of that psychospeak puts the image of Stuart Smalley (aka Al Franken, another Minnesotan) in front of the mirror saying, “Gosh darnit, people like me.”  Doesn’t it?

And yet she is so wise.

Today I am thankful for so many things.  My children are healthy and have two loving parents, I have the food and clothing I need, my brain is functional, my neighborhood is peaceful, and I have friends whose love and support have helped me to find great strength in recent months.  And on a windy, 13 degree night in Minneapolis, I am damn thankful for shelter and heat and warm blankets.

But here is the part of Beattie’s quote that sets her description apart from the usual “let’s count our blessings” admonition:

…and creates a vision for tomorrow.

Because being thankful is not the same as convincing ourselves that everything is just fine and dandy.  Real thankfulness is finding JOY in life, just as it is, alongside HOPE for what the future may bring.  Real joy includes appreciating our ability to work through those things that, frankly, we hope will get better.

As I type this it seems appropriate that Thanksgiving is soon followed by the holiday of promised change: NEW YEAR’S.  But this post is not about resolutions or fixes.  What I think is so smart about this quote is that with this kind of grateful spirit, we can find calm and focus in the struggle of life’s imperfections.  And in doing so, work through those problems that can distract us from seeing how lucky we are.


2 Responses to “Thankful”

  1. Kimble said

    Well said sis.

  2. sallysmart said

    Thanks, titter.

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