A Grateful Heart
Welcome to Real Life. Earlier this month, I was out walking. The cold wind hit my face. Without thinking, I quoted the opening lines of a poem my mother used to say,
“Blow, blow, thou winter wind. Thou art not so unkind as man's ingratitude.” –William Shakespeare
|Last Christmas with Mom 2011|
Thanksgiving is a holiday of gratitude. After the pilgrim’s first winter in Plymouth (1620-21), two-thirds of their number died of starvation and disease. One year later, at fall harvest, Governor William Bradford called for a special celebration to thank God for his provision of food, shelter, and a critical friendship forged with the Wampanoag Indians. Great loss the previous winter spurred great appreciation for life's basic necessities, often taken for granted.
The more we have, the further we seem to move from the holiday's original intent. When I think of Thanksgiving, I think of succulent turkey, pumpkin pie with mounds of real whipped cream, family gatherings, and a long weekend off work. Gratitude is an afterthought.
|A thank you note from Mom|
This brings me back to Mom. For, she was intentionally grateful. Many times, she’d call and begin with, “Peggi, did I thank you for …” She’d gently nudge my father if I rendered him some service, “Did you thank your daughter?” Or, I'd find a note of thanks she left on my pillow. If ingratitude is a harsh winter wind, Mom was a balmy summer breeze.
As with the Pilgrims, loss awakens gratitude. Mom’s in heaven. I’ll miss her presence at my holiday table. And, this stirs in me a deep appreciation. "Thank you, Heavenly Father, for the many years I enjoyed with my dear, sweet mama." And, for a grateful heart, I say, “Thanks, Mom.”
–G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936), English writer, journalist and Christian apologist
What are you thankful for?