I have been thinking a lot about gratitude lately and not just because of the Thanksgiving holiday. Maybe it is the fact that my kids entered a new phase of their lives starting high school this year and have adjusted beautifully. Maybe it is because with hurricane Sandy, it was so obvious that I had much to be thankful for. Maybe it is because with the recent election, I was overwhelmed with tears as the election results streamed in. Whatever the reason, for me, this day-of-thanks has actually been a season of thanks for so many things. I know that it is not always easy to find things to be grateful for. Bad things occur, annoying things happen, disappointments are ever-present. But that is when we have to look deepest to find our gratitude. Being thankful when things are going well is easy. Finding small pieces of thankfulness when things are hard is a challenge.
And I hope it is a challenge you will all take on. Long after you have finished the Turkey in your fridge, I hope that you will take with you the lessons of thankfulness that are supposed to be a regular part of our Jewish lives. Thanksgiving “leftovers” can be in our lives every single day. Try finding one thing, right now as you read this, that you are thankful for. And then tomorrow, see if you can do the same. What would it look like if saying “I am thankful for____” became a daily habit in your life?
Wishing you all a Shabbat filled with peace, love and of course, gratitude.
Pamela Joy Barkley