Everyone seems to have a month of the year where there is a cluster of significant events. In my life, it’s November. In Novembers past, I have had:
-ï¿½ A sister-in-law I was very close to died in Nov. 2001
-ï¿½ I had a mastectomy for breast cancer in Nov. 2004
-ï¿½ The Gathering Inn bought its property and incorporated in Nov. 2007
-ï¿½ My Mom died in Nov. 2008
-ï¿½ My divorce proceedings began in Nov. 2010
-ï¿½ I moved out of my home of 40 plus years in Nov. 2010
-ï¿½ My new home was completed and I moved in last Nov. 2011.
And there is more. So every November, I have much to think about, much to remember that might seem sad. But what also happens is that every November contains Thanksgiving Day. A day to celebrate and give thanks for all the blessings of life! So, how do we give thanks when life throws us curveballs?
At the recent Radical Forgiveness Workshop at The Gathering Inn, we pondered the idea that perhaps events are neither good nor bad, but they are just “What Is”. They are all part of the human experience. They are opportunities to practice living from the sacred core of our beings, learn the lessons we are here to learn, and check our thoughts to find a focus on the gifts in each day and each happening and each relationship.
In the play “Hamlet”, William Shakespeare says: “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” It has also been said: There is no good or bad. Our human experiences, as painful as they may seem, are not BAD, but purposeful. Consider giving thanks for the whole human experience, for without it, you wouldn’t be here.
Some find this easy to accept and some find a great deal of resistance to the concept that nothing in and of itself is bad. If that’s where you are, consider St. Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians in which he says: In everything give thanks. Notice he doesn’t say give thanks FOR everything, but rather, give thanks IN everything. So no matter whether you are of a mind to give thanks FOR or give thanks IN all things, be assured there are always gifts of grace and love…. a kind word, a healing gesture, a lesson learned, a hug, an opportunity to experience the best in our brothers and sisters, a way to reach out to a hurting world, even when we are hurting ourselves.
On the heels of Hurricane Sandy, it is easy to be grateful for the simple things in life…. electricity, heat, food, water, a working telephone, and a roof over our heads (one that hopefully doesn’t have a tree protruding through it!). So, in my November rememberings, I give thanks for the people I had an opportunity to love who enriched my life, for a home I loved for years where I grew my garden and grew my family, for my new home where I am sheltered and nurtured, for good work to do, for good health, and for all the abundance our Mother/Father God has blessed me with.
This Thanksgiving Day, may you and those whom you hold nearest and dearest enjoy a cornucopia of blessings for which your hearts will be filled with gratitude.