“Thank you, always say thank you; it’s the greatest gift you can give someone; because thank you is what you say to God.” -Maya Angelou
Every summer, I plant a tomato plant. Usually it’s from a 3″ pot, already growing. Sometimes it shows promise, maybe even bears a tomato or two, but they’re no bigger than a walnut. I know. It’s not a very good track record.
Two years ago, I bought a raised bed for my tomato plant, one which said if I filled it with water into a tube and it watered from below, the tomato plant would thrive. Of course, after two years of trying, I can say that it wasn’t the magic ticket for gorgeous tomatoes.
My neighbor, whom I love, planted her tomato plant about eight feet away from mine, and it bore loads of tomatoes. I admired it from across the fence as mine withered, and I realized I can’t control these things. Sometimes it’s a bumper crop, sometimes not. But life, when the good pours in, needs to be celebrated. The good things are truly gifts.
Saying Thanks this Thanksgiving
My favorite holiday in the US is Thanksgiving. I missed it, desperately, for the 4 Thanksgivings we spent abroad — it was a normal day with school and work. There is something about an entire nation taking time together, to stop and say “Thank You” for all we’ve been given. And we have been given so much.
I’m grateful for my family and dear friends. But one of the best results of being an expat is the deep feeling of appreciation for everything when we return home (I wrote more about it here).
I’m especially thankful for the simple things like ice cubes for a cold glass of water, window screens to keep insects outside (and not crawling up my arm as I sleep), clean water, the baggers at the grocery store, a kind smile from a receptionist, lines painted on the roads, and snow plows. The list goes on and on and on in my mind, daily.
An article in the NYTimes talks about gratitude being the defeating force for impulse buying, or impulsiveness in general. But there are countless benefits to having the ability to say thank you.
Gratitude helps create deeper relationships, greater contentment, and virtually eliminates the need to complain. Because if the glass isn’t half empty, it is half full. At least for me. We do have so much for which to be thankful.
So this thanksgiving, as I sit down for my meal, I’m saying thank you, again, for all the things–the light and life and love, the food (even tomatoes) and family and friends–who and which make my life so rich. And thank you to all of you for joining me here.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
“Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer. And let faith be the bridge you build to overcome evil and welcome good.” -Maya Angelou