I’m going to be honest here, I’m not always focused on gratitude. I want so much to be a person who is, in every moment, cognizant of her blessings – so much so that she isn’t easily distracted from all that is good in those moments when something not so good is happening. No, I am not that person. I get sidetracked, I get upset, and sometimes, I feel hurts so deeply, they make it difficult to feel much of anything else; most especially gratitude. And so, I am a work in progress. I am also a mother who wants more than anything to break a deep rooted, family cycle of negativity and give my children the gift of gratitude. I want for them to dwell in the light that surrounds them, to count their blessings and stack them in a pile so high, they have trouble seeing beyond them. I want them to have a bottomless well of goodness from which to draw their strength when bad times threaten to deplete it.
I know this is a lofty goal, and that we live in a world that is ever working to achieve the opposite. I know there is no “gratitude utopia” that will protect them from all harm, disappointment, sadness…but I have hope that a habit of blessing-counting can shape their worldviews to always allow the better to outshine the worst.
I don’t know how to instill this, really, when after all of these years I haven’t yet managed to do it for myself. And, so, I suppose, with myself is a good place to start. And so, for the month of November, when Thanksgiving is on everyone’s minds, I’m going to be more mindful about the things I have been blessed with, and I’m going to make a point of writing them down, every day, in my art journal. I’m going to ask the kids to keep a journal of their own, as well. And, most importantly, I’m going to pray – not only to ask for spiritual guidance for myself and my children, but to thank God, every day, for the blessings I’m counting out loud and also the ones I’m not quite able to see.