By Di Chapman
Fire up your gratitude and reach for the joy.
Good heavens, y’all. Have we been in deep doo-doo or what? We’ve been through pure lunacy, pestilence, uncertainty, mass confusion and one of the most tense elections ever. Dorothy, we aren’t in Kansas anymore. But let’s put on the waders and slog on through it. We can get to the other side of this with what I call resurrecting some joy with an attitude of gratitude. Because….
It’s November for crying out loud, and it’s time!
We’ve been clutching our sanity, trying to keep our at-home children educated, and stopping them from killing each other, determined as they might be. We’re exhausted from keeping ourselves employed as well, and wanting to run away to a secluded beach. But we’ve stayed the course, stayed safe and been respectful of others’ preventative wishes.
Now, I’m not the smartest person in the room, and my husband will grin ear to ear as he tells you that I’m his impulsive, goofy, and unpredictable wife. I cop to being no expert on, well, anything, so I’ll wax poetically about joy and gratitude this Thanksgiving. Why not? If I can do it while it’s so nuts out there, you can do it. Are you with me?
When I wrote my book Rekindle Your Purpose, I believed a chapter on gratitude and joy was a must because through the process of finding thankfulness and simple appreciation you can find joy. It’s there if you want it, and Thanksgiving is a good time to feel it. There isn’t a limited supply. I can have it, you can have it. Everyone can have it. You don’t have to earn it. Just reach out and take it. Go ahead!
My gratitude and joy comes from years of enjoyment of my husband’s sense of humor and his appreciation of mine as well. He is also accepting of my Inspector Clouseau clumsiness, watching me suck up drapes or the bedskirt with the vacuum cleaner, getting stuck under a desk, or forgetting one shoe when I jump in the car. He supervises my driving exit from, and entrance into, the garage. (Okay, okay, I DID run over his toolbox once.) Our constant laughter amid this demented year has been a blessing.
Then there’s the enormous gratitude I have for family and friends. So very many important rewarding relationships in my life – all of them – that bring me great joy.
I asked my friends around the country to tell me what gratitude they have felt during this year of lockdowns, masks, fires and uncertainties. I was thrilled that most had gratitude at top of mind.
Karen, my lifelong friend and resident of Oregon, is grateful for the firefighters who protected them in the maelstrom of fires, and so much more. “We have gratitude for a quieter and simpler life since COVID. We are grateful for the sweet hug of a child, our neighbors’ greetings on evening walks, and watching blue jays pecking the seeds from bright yellow sunflowers.” I am grateful for the times Karen has calmed my tantrums on every road trip we’ve taken. (Don’t ask.)
My girlfriend Verona is grateful for “The peace that God gives me, my ability to weather any storm, and many years of friendships. They aren’t about the color of skin, but beauty inside and out. I feel loved from friends of many walks of life, many countries, church, and family.” We feel mutually thankful for our special Tuesday “oatmeal klatch.” I use the opportunity to suck down java, just to make the “klatch” official.
My friends Nick and Charlene, a couple in Vermont, are “thankful to be living in a state with such a low number of COVID cases; and going back in time when traditions and spending nonelectronic time was important.” Their kid actually converses with them. His face, normally buried in devices, has appeared, and his parents now know what he looks like.
Cheryl, a longtime girlfriend who just transplanted herself from California to Texas had this to say, “I’m grateful for my family. I’m grateful for my friends who give me an opportunity to be who I am and love me despite all of my flaws.” Ahhhh! The flaws. I hear ya, sister!
There was heartbreak this past year but the gratitude still flows. Like many, my family lost someone we loved dearly: my mother-in-law, in an assisted living home in Arizona. My sister-in-law Eileen could no longer go into her room to sit next to her and give her hugs. My husband and I could not visit her. She passed away days before her 104th birthday.
Eileen told me, “I’m grateful to have had such a wonderful mother and that she doesn’t have to deal with being torn away from her family any more.” My mother-in-law had a great sense of humor and we spent many hours enjoying our time together, laughing and reminiscing about our families. I tease my husband and Eileen about how much I know about their lives. I laughed at many a diaper photo with their mother.
Judy, a girlfriend I met in Atlanta, gives gratitude for “My family, my friendships, and my friendships that are family. In these difficult times they are the sanity in my life. They are there no matter what. I’m extremely grateful for my health. I’m also grateful for my beautiful kitty!”
Ladies and Gentlemen, let’s raise a glass. It’s November! Thanksgiving month, in case we’ve forgotten amid the baloney! Here’s to friendship, family, health and pets! The staples of staying sane during a gosh-awful time. Here’s to dog antics and cat’s facial expressions. Here’s to long walks and saying “hello” to neighbors out doing the same thing. Here’s to seeing your kids’ faces.
Here’s to saying, “We conquer you with gratitude and joy, oh beserk 2020! You are soon to be history!”
Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!
Di Chapman is an inspirational author and speaker, and a branding consultant. Di’s latest book is Rekindle Your Purpose: Break through your disappointments, discouragements, and detours to resurrect your purpose and live it!