Thankful Year-Round

by Jill Kitchen

Remember to PauseWe still have leftover Halloween candy at my house. Even though my fall wreath and centerpiece are starting to look a little shabby, there is not a Christmas decoration to be seen. I am fundamentally opposed to stores opening on Thanksgiving Day to get the jump on early Christmas shoppers. I NEVER “do” Black Friday. I like the subtle pause.

Someone said last week, “What is the point of spending two days in the kitchen cooking for a meal that is eaten in 15 minutes and takes an hour to clean up after?” They are missing the pause.

Second only to Easter, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It IS the pause. There are no costumes, decorations are optional or minimal, gifts are not required or expected and everyone, regardless of religious orientation, gets to celebrate the same thing. The big job of “the meal” is tradition but doesn’t make-or-break the holiday. Skip it if it is a hassle, and make a bowl of soup or order from Domino’s. Then, enjoy the pause.

The challenge is that it is getting harder and harder to find/hear/enjoy the pause on a daily basis. So, what in the world am I talking about? The Pause is that moment of quiet joy and peace when I take a time-out and feel grateful, thankful and blessed. And the best thing? The pause doesn’t include a “but….” Not on Thanksgiving.

I am thankful year-round and grateful daily for every small and perfect gift. Yet, in a time when many of our relationships are sustained by text and email, when the economy and the politicians are making most of us pull our hair out, when there are more appointments and obligations than there is space on my calendar and it seems there is simply too much uncertainty around every corner, I find that I am thankful, but….

I am thankful for my husband, but I wish he didn’t work so much.
I am thankful for my son, but being a parent is terrifying.
I am thankful for my business, but it certainly doesn’t run on auto-pilot.
I am thankful for my health, but if I could just lose those un-losable pounds.

I am richly blessed in this life. I am thankful for success achieved through hard work. I wouldn’t trade my family for anything. So, why does it seem as though so much of my thankfulness is conditional? The fact is that it’s really not. The pressures, distractions and obligations of daily life simply skew my perception. It’s like waiting for the other shoe to drop. Does anyone feel what I’m explaining??!!

That is why we need to pause. The Pause is Thanksgiving. So, stop. Breathe in your blessings, and breathe out gratitude. No “but” about it. It just takes a moment. The football game will still be on, the stores will still be happy to take your money and the dishes can wait.

Now, can we all go forward and do this every day? Accept a compliment. Say “thank you” and mean it. Hear “thank you” from someone and truly accept it. Every day, look at your blessings, and find a moment to pause.

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