The light this week has put me in raptures. First the darkly pigmented horizon line of autumnal sunsets, then the sheer glow of morning light steaming over my bed, then the tempered slant of midday sun on the trees and pavement outside. For each of these moments, my mind lifted from its usual quandaries to gasp, "how beautiful this world is!"
That gasp is also the curl of warmth in my belly when someone pays me a compliment, as it is the recognition of someone has thought deeply about me. Appreciation comes in many forms, from the simple "thank you," to the way it ties us together in some circle of open indebtedness. On past Thanksgivings, I have tried to always acknowledge my appreciations to those around me..
This year, though, I think that true Thanksgiving is going further than mental acknowledgement of gratitude. I have often spent too much time saying thank you, rather than reflecting on how I can be more open in return (and therefore, give more of myself). I've always known, but never accepted, that allowing someone to help me is an expression of vulnerability. In the past year, I have been very aware of how I close myself off to people. Even more so, I have realized that allowing myself to be vulnerable is a relief, not a burden.
Every time that I close myself off, it results from judgment rather than a wide, quizzical understanding of the situation. While I know that judgments often come from a place of deep morality and values, and thus cannot be ignored, I have also sometimes clung to values that stood on nothing more than another person's opinion.
This morning, surrounded by so many familiar things, I feel myself on the right path. The aroma of my family's cooking efforts drifts to me, tantalizing. Heidi shifts restlessly and I lay my hand on her side. Tonight my family and grandparents, uncle and cousins, will be joined by those who are far from their own families for this holiday. My grandmother will have gotten older, my grandfather lost a little more of his memory, but they will both be here. Time drops away so much that we once could give thanks for, but it also presents us with intangibles that call us to even higher levels of gratitude. Let yourself be open today, and the next day, and the next, I tell myself. Today, stuff yourself with food, and love, and of course, Thanksgiving.