‘Tis the season for showing gratitude for what we have and our appreciation for others. How do you express your thanks?
If you are anything like me, then you do so in ways that may seem small, and yet they are meaningful in the doing as well as receiving.
Maybe you assist an old friend with a tedious task (though you’d rather be napping after a long week). Maybe you extend an invitation to someone you don’t know very well (with an extra chair drawn up to the dining table). Maybe you go the extra mile to help a stranger — carrying packages or offering directions.
To me, acts of kindness carry no expectation of reciprocity; no tit for tat or scorekeeping. Kindnesses that are paid forward are the ones I recall most warmly. (Think back. Isn’t that true for you, too?)
Among my favorite November and December activities?
Kitchen duty, particularly when it comes to cookies, cakes, and pecan pie in the oven. (Baking is one of my favorite expressions of appreciation, especially as a thank you to neighbors.) Alas, at present, my usual baking bliss is severely curtailed, if not entirely on hold. Much to my dismay, a bum shoulder is undermining my usual routines (not to mention my sleep), and those routines were already a bit scrambled by a recent relocation.
I have slowed in activities that are physically uncomfortable — like writing here. I have not disappeared, but I do need to heal. And that means restricting the time I spend typing or tapping on a keyboard.
So for now, kindly eat, drink, and give thanks for your health, your family, and your friends. You will note that I place health at the top of that list. When your days or nights are lost to health concerns, it becomes challenging to keep your spirits up, to be the person you want to be for yourself and those you love, and to participate fully in the world.
Still, if you’re fortunate, no matter what your troubles, you nevertheless maintain your capacity to recognize the beauty of a brisk, sunny afternoon, the delight in a phone call from an adult child, and your ability to be compassionate and caring when a friend needs you.
As for me, I have been and remain incredibly appreciative of all of you who read, those of you who have written to check on me, and equally, those who continue to post caring and supportive comments for others on the various discussions here.
Your kindness reminds me of the basic goodness in so many people, and for that, I am immeasurably grateful.
I wish you and yours a very happy holiday season.