“Whatever we are waiting for — peace of mind, contentment, grace, the inner awareness of simple abundance — it will surely come to us, but only when we are ready to receive it with an open and grateful heart.”

— Sarah Ban Breathnach

As Thanksgiving Day approaches, before the turkey is roasting and intoxicating us with its seductive aroma, I find myself taking stock of all the things I have to be thankful for this year.  It’s funny how the list always seems to begin with the same things.  Ho-hum.  I’m thankful for this old house that I have to clean and that needs paint.  I suppose I’m thankful for the lawn that needs mowing and the leaves that need raking.  I’m thankful for my family, old and young, under my roof and far away, and the challenges they bring amid the joy.   Ho-hum.  I am thankful for the ho-hum, for the overflowing blessings of all the things I take so for granted that it feels like I should come up with a more exciting list.  It is really important, before the day of Thanksgiving approaches, to get in touch with our gratitude.  There is nothing boring or routine about true, heartfelt gratitude; and it is only when our hearts can contain no more joy that we can be truly thankful.

It really is a matter of attitude that allows us to live with gratitude.  I look at my ancient house, and I think of all the wonderful memories that have been made within its walls.  I think of the way its stone walls  have withstood the wildest winds and the wildest children.  I think of the way its sturdy roof has sheltered us all from the rain and the snow and kept us safe and warm and sheltered.  I think of the lawn and all the picnics it has seen, all the years of vegetables and flowers and treehouses and swings; and I think of the trees that offer us shade and fruit as well as leaves for raking.  I try to imagine what my life would be like without the family I hold so dear; and I cannot begin to fathom a world without them.

My heart overflows, and the words of Thanksgiving come to my lips.  It is gratitude that allows us to speak thankful words.  They spring from our hearts if we have filled them with grateful thoughts.