Happy Thanksgiving! Today, Americans observe our nation’s oldest tradition. We gather with family and friends, and focus on our blessings. Regardless of what country you are from, I invite you to join us. Giving thanks for the benefits you have can boost your spirits, help you realize what is important in life, and increase your resolve to attain it.
Some people think they need perfect conditions or a monumental success to count their blessings. But when President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed this national holiday, the United States was engaged in the Civil War. The bloody Battle of Gettysburg had been fought just three months before, and each side had lost about a third of their fighting men. Lincoln was the commander in chief of the Union forces, yet on that first Thanksgiving, he spoke as the President of the entire nation. He asked all Americans to count their blessings, “with one heart and one voice.”
There are so many things, little and big, that each of us can be grateful for. Here is my list of ten things that I may have sometimes taken for granted, but are truly amazing. I’m starting with the turning leaves. That is why I’m incorporating all these beautiful pictures that I took of Seattle’s Japanese Garden.
1. Nature. When the autumn chill sets in, instead of regretting the loss of summer warmth, I take joy in the stunning colors splashed on the leaves.
2. Lasting Friendships. One of my best friends from Vanderbilt, Regina, once said, “A good friend is someone who touches base even when years have gone by.” She left me a message the other day and I realized again how truly special good friends are.
3. Home. I am thankful that I have never been forced to sleep without a roof over my head, a place to sleep and food to eat.
4. All of you. During some of my most difficult challenges, some of you sent me the nicest messages. I am truly touched to have you in my life.
5. Breath. This might sound like something we should take for granted, but about a year ago, I went into anaphylactic shock from a newly-acquired shellfish allergy and stopped breathing. It was incredibly scary, and took quite a bit for me to fully overcome. Since then, I wake up every day very grateful to be breathing.
6. Love. Accepting love and feeling love for another person causes vulnerability, but I’m so grateful for that verb. This was especially true after I went into anaphylactic shock. Every time I ate at a restaurant, I was terrified that shellfish sauce would have been snuck into the recipe. After the incident, I was pretty sick and had to have a total of twelve IV drips. But there was someone who showed me a lot of love during that tough time. It made all the difference.
7. Being in the Moment. A recent trip that I took for work made me realize how precious an experience can be. The adventures I had will never come again. Sure, I can return to the locations, but I will never be in the same place with the same people at the same time in our lives.
8. Energy. The other day I took two dance classes back-to-back. I left feeling filled with joy for my health and strength.
9. Family. The people I am spending this day with have been with me since day one.
10. Thanksgiving Day. I’m grateful that Sarah Josepha Hale, a destitute young widow in the 19th Century, became a prestigious magazine editor, and persuaded President Lincoln to establish a day of national thanksgiving. I’m going to strive harder to acknowledge what I have to be thankful each and every day.