An Act of Gratitude
It was November 2001. Influenced by the horrors of September 11, I decided to not wait until January to write my annual New Year’s letter. With Thanksgiving only three weeks away, I thought it would be good to move out of the numbness that set in on 9-11 by entering into the fullness of gratitude.
I started each paragraph in my Thanksgiving letter with “I am thankful for…” It was a great exercise in noticing what was working in my life. I ended each copy of the letter with a hand-written personal note. It was simply life-changing. Before writing each of those 130 notes, I took time to think about the person who would receive that letter. I wrote what was in my heart, expressing my deep gratitude for the special way that person touched my life. Tears of appreciation flowed as I moved into an almost overwhelming state of thankfulness. Taking this time, which was substantial, to consider how each person had graced me with their presence resulted in an outpouring of appreciation, forgiveness (sometimes of myself) and bountiful love.
I remember writing those love notes everywhere: daily at my desk during the weeks leading up to our Thanksgiving visit with my mom, at the dining room table, on the little tray table on the airplane to Florida, and on my lap in the car when Glenn was driving the hour to mom’s house from the airport. After signing the last letter in the car that day, a feeling of deep satisfaction flowed through me. I said to my darling husband, “I feel complete.” Feeling more peaceful than I had in years, I added, “I could die at any time now, knowing that I’ve said everything I want to say to those I love.”
In the spiritual chrysalis that had formed around me during those weeks of gratitude, I had transformed. The numbness lifted and my life was renewed.
With Thanksgiving upon us, I am reminded of the gift of time I took in those weeks to be present in Spirit with each person I know and love. I choose to do this again. While the result may not be something tangible like a letter, it will be a deepening of my connection to you, and to all life here on Earth and beyond. As Johannes A. Gaertner, author of Worldly Virtues says so beautifully:
To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant,
To enact gratitude is generous and noble,
But to live gratitude is to touch Heaven.
May you experience the fullness of Heaven on Earth this Thanksgiving.
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