Hump day is coming to a close while thanksgiving day patiently waits around the corner. This year has been a year to remember or to forget depending on who you talk to. Many have lost while a plethora of others have gained. Tears were shed. Joyous moments were found. Yet through it all, a good majority of us will be gathering at a dinner table tomorrow to give thanks. What does it mean to give thanks? What does it mean when we say we are grateful?
Recently, the company I work for hired a man in his late twenties to support in the day to day operations. We got off to a good start and ever since, our relationship has matured quite a bit. To describe him as a positive and jovial individual would not do him justice. He constantly walks around with a contagious smile on his face and is always on the prowl to spring a laugh out of someone. Then, one day, while discussing with him the implications of Covid-19 and the nagging feeling of lack of freedom hunting most of the population, he opens up and reveals that he lost his mother to the Ebola virus in 2014. A year prior, his father succumbed from a heart attack. You can imagine my facial expression after his confession. I immediately stopped talking and just listened. He went on for an hour. As I drove home later that evening, I began to ponder the true meaning of gratefulness. I began to question if there’s truly weight to the words “I’m grateful” when spoken into existence. We say and preach it repeatedly, yet at the slightest minute sign of struggle or discomfort, we verbally or physically go off the rails. Are we then really grateful? Or has it become just another unquestioned expression to the likes of “Bless you”?
As we gather tomorrow with family members and friends, I hope we can find it within us to contemplate on the meaning of being thankful and grateful. As someone once told me, it’s not something you inherently possess. Instead, it is practiced every day.