I thought maybe before the commercial machine forces us into the holiday hullabaloo that has become Christmas these days, I would like to take up once again the practice of gratitude. After all, it is November, the month of Thanksgiving, the one holiday that doesn't include over-the-top decorations, gift giving, candy doling, and the like. Thanksgiving is that one time of year we are encouraged to gather together and give thanks.
With the above in mind, it seems appropriate that this discipline should begin with two similar, almost mirrored holidays, All Saints Day and DIa de los Muertos. Both are traditional times to honor and celebrate those who are no longer with us. Both are rooted in the basic belief that no one truly dies until they are totally forgotten. No where is this more aptly portrayed than in last year's hit animated flick, Coco. If you haven't seen it, do. It really brings home the meaning of life and relationships and love.
So on this first day of my gratitude journal, I want to just mention those who are now gone, but, for me, not forgotten. For it is these folks who helped shape me into the man I am today. They include my "nuclear" family: Mom, Dad, Russell, and my grandparents. Plus that large extended family I had with aunts, uncles, cousins and in-laws to boot. Family gatherings at the holidays, especially Thanksgiving and Christmas brought the heart of the family to prominent display. Hard to believe almost all of them are gone now. But I carry them all with me. But as long as I remember them, they live on.
Of course over the years there have been teachers and playmates, principals and counselors, neighbors and friends. Funny how life ebbs and flows as I have reconnected with some from fifty and sixty years ago after many years of separation. Just shows to go you, there's always someone who remembers you and sometimes in the most unexpected ways.
Of course when you've lived as long as I have there are even more people who have become "like family" and people who are your friend for life even if you don't communicate for long periods of time. I can think of people I could ring up right now and we would just pick up from where we left off. No worries.
Okay, probably enough for today's gratitudes. Perhaps this will turn into a gratitude habit, an attitude of gratitude. And wouldn't that be just fine?