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A Simple Thanks

This is the time of year that the carousel we call life begins to pick up steam. Things get flashier. Schedules get packed with events and duties and plans. Life gets busier and the ride dizzier.

This is also the time of year when we are supposed to reflect upon those things for which we are thankful. With so much glitz and spin it can be easy to lose focus.

Sadly, there are times when we become keenly aware of people/things for which we are truly thankful … only after they are lost to us. Conversely, a strong feeling of thankfulness may possess us at one time or another for things that then slip quickly and quietly from our memories without a trace in time … proving their relative lack of importance in the long run.

This year I would like to remain simple in my Thanksgiving reflections. I would like to strip away the layers of sparkle and shine, as well as those of darkness and pain … to blow away the houses of cards that we are taught to build around us and to admire … and to turn my gaze inward.

There are so many distractions that keep us from looking inward. The carousel keeps spinning in a way that makes us feel like we need to quickly pick some things for which we are thankful, show them … nay, announce them … and move on to the next task. There is neither the time nor the space for sadness or reflection. We need to line up events, schedule activities, fill up our days. We hang on and spin … afraid to stop … afraid we will miss something. Even when things around us may crack and crumble, we think we must hang in there, stiff upper lip, and stay on the ride. We need to show the world that we are thankful.

we are allowed to step off. We are allowed to walk over and sit upon one of the benches to the side, to pause and to reflect.

Well… a very good friend of mine recently reminded me that, yes, the carousel does keep turning, but that we are allowed to step off. We are allowed to walk over and sit upon one of the benches to the side, to pause and to reflect. We are even allowed to completely exit the pavilion for the time it takes to heal, if necessary. Yes, the carousel keeps spinning and we will “miss” some things, but that is ok. We live in a world that is flooded with information and filled to the brim with events that we are “missing” and only learn about later … and that is ok.

There are times when we don’t feel thankful, when we feel like we have been swept off our colorful wooden mount and are spinning without control. There are times when we may feel thankful, but confused about what is truly important. There are times when we simply need to step off the carousel.

This year, I have claimed a spot on the bench in order to look inward. Of course, I am thankful for friends and family (including the wonderful and mischievous beasts with whom I share my home and my life), and for the happiness I have experienced. But, this year … I want to look inside and to find something basic about myself for which I am thankful.

I have always found it easier to look at others and to note those things about them that inspire and move me. It is much harder to reach inside and to acknowledge a part of myself for which I am truly thankful. So, here, on my bench, I have chosen one.

I am truly thankful for whatever it is, gene or spark, that allows for me to see humor when I am sad … to laugh when I should, perhaps, be crying. It may seem like a small thing (it certainly isn’t a mansion or a yacht), but there it is.

Is there something about yourself for which you are truly thankful? Perhaps, you can find it while spinning about, but don’t be afraid to take a bench for a moment. One of the secrets of the carousel of life is that we are allowed to step back on when we are ready … when we have had some time to reflect or heal … and that the ride will then be much more satisfying and meaningful.

Happy Thanksgiving from the heart.

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