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For the little things

On the Bright Side

Many people like to celebrate Thanksgiving with a wonderful old tradition, which is to pause before the holiday meal and go around the table giving everyone a chance to say what they are most thankful for. Invariably, some people can ramble on and on about their multitude of blessings while others find it difficult to think of anything at all, or even to be able to express what they can think of.

Some people celebrate the tradition by wanting to make sure they say something profound, speaking more from their brain than their heart, and that's fine. I personally like and appreciate the offerings that come from the heart, whether they be profound or ordinary.

Then again, sometimes the ordinary is the most profound. Especially in this year of uncertainty, the little blessings in our lives become more appreciated, sometimes even more profound. But in spite of everything that goes wrong or brings hurts, there is so much to be thankful for every day.

Most of us are thankful for the big things in our lives: family, friends, health, a good job, a warm house to call home. But all of those big things are made up of a bunch of little ordinary things which we sometimes forget to acknowledge.

When I think of family and friends, I can always say I am thankful for the love and support I receive, but those things, while big and important, are just so general. I like to think of the many little things to be thankful for in that category, the little things that make up the big things, the specific memories of everyday acts of connections.

So: I'm thankful for that time "J" and I laughed so hard in the movie that we almost got asked to leave, and the laughter stayed with us long after the film was over; I'm thankful that "B" encouraged me to keep hiking up the mountain the day I was so tired I didn't want to go on, but I did because of her and I was rewarded with such a spectacular view of the Bay Area. I'm thankful that "S" called yesterday just to see how I was doing and we had such a good conversation; I'm thankful that three friends and I had such a good time playing Farkle the other night.

I'm not as healthy as I once was – some days I wake up wondering which body part will hurt the most on that particular day – but I am able to live alone, I'm able to take care of myself, I'm able to have fun. I'm grateful that I can walk, even if it is with a cane or walker sometimes; I'm grateful that I can drive myself where I need to go. If things were different, I might be thankful to have someone to drive me (like I did when I was recovering from surgery), or to have a good friend grocery shop for me (like when I had covid). I'm also grateful that I am able to do some of these things for other people who might be worse off than me.

I could go on, but I hope you get my drift. Once my mind gets set to remembering the little things and times for which I feel blessed, it seems they just keep coming exponentially. I might be that person who rambles on and on at the dinner table.

We so often find ourselves most consumed with the troubles and challenges in our lives that we forget the many blessings we experience. We can turn that around too, to reasons to be thankful. We're mad when our car won't start but we forget that it started every morning for the last three years. We're upset if road construction causes us a delay one day when we forget all the other days we have driven to the same place without any problems at all. We're irritated when we get cut off in traffic and we forget how many times other courteous drivers have waved us on in front of them.

It's not that hard to think in terms of blessings instead of troubles and challenges, or worse, curses, and it gets easier once you make it a practice. Now you have a few days before you gather with your friends and family for Thanksgiving to think about what you might say when you're asked what you are thankful for. And if you aren't able to get together with anyone else that day, you can still choose to think about all the things you have to be thankful for.

When it gets right down to it, I am even grateful for just knowing that I know enough to be thankful for all of the blessings in my life, both big and small.

Happy Thanksgiving.

© 2021 Marilda Mel White. Mel, local writer/photographer and co-owner of Tehachapi Treasure Trove, has been looking on the bright side (and finding much gratitude to write about) for various publications since 1996, She welcomes your comments at [email protected].