Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Maybe because it’s the next one. I confess I am guilty of frequently indulging in anticipatory joy for the next holiday, almost as much as the arrival of said holiday. When I paint, often what snags my interest is what is just about to happen. I love to paint flowers at the end of winter, fall’s landscapes in August, and snow in October. Oh, and the madness continues with travel, where planning the trip is darn near as fun as going on the trip. I have a friend who has noted that her spouse is afflicted similarly in that charming – almost annoying way. He often muses about the next meal while he is eating, say, lunch, dreaming out loud of the possible dinner options between bites and slips of his perfectly grilled sandwich with soup combo. Clearly an accusation of not staying in the moment might apply.
I will admit my struggles staying fully immersed in the now, though I would like to say, I often co-mingle the pleasures of the moment and multiply that experience with a very vivid imagination. Mixing the here-and-now joy with the possibility of its goodness spilling over into the next great thing. Rationalization? Yes, I hear you, my little internal auditor. Let’s stop this and follow the crumbs back to November’s premium holiday….
So, Thanksgiving, T-Day. My heart leaps! Could be a cardio warning but we aren’t going there. Truly it is the most pure-of-heart celebration, with no gifts required, comfort food expected and all the grateful or even not so grateful are generously invited. Mmmm.
So as I ponder the beautiful simplicity of this time of year, where everyone is welcome at someone’s table, I also acknowledge the reality of lives caught up in Life’s chaos. Illness, tragedy, injury, injustice, addiction, family dysfunction and loss. The sparks of pain ever present floating around each of us, waiting for a place to ignite conflict or suffering. How do we stay real and engaged without stirring up the smoldering dark places? How do we open our eyes and hearts, avoid the potholes and respond as kindly as possible?
I do not have a solution to the messiness of LIfe. It seems to be unavoidable in my experience.
So I am declaring this truth and hereby accepting that reality. Life is good, and Life is hard. You cannot just choose one. Next, I’m going to make a plan for me to live in that paradox as the best version of myself as I can muster. I am making a plan. Not a big one, just a tiny little plan sized for my tiny place in the world during this holiday season.
This is what I’m thinking.
This is the Secret Giving Mobius. It is thankfulness. Being thankful and grateful is twisted and unending. Look mobius up on the clever screen you are reading this on right now. Mobius images. There are many. All infinite while remaining connected, none straight or simple. The giving, paying forward, Golden Rule stuff is the mobius.
Giving has always come back to me even when I was too dim to see it. Multiplied often in ways I could have never imagined. Life is hard. Very hard at times. But it is also good and beautiful. I want the part of Life that is my part to be a kind part.
The seasons themselves are a wonder. If summer lasts too long into fall or winter into spring, even if the weather is delightful, the internal eternal time keeper inside nudges for a change to match the patterns embedded there. The rhythm of time, set to an annual schedule, comforts me and while I love looking forward, I adore being present most of the time. The paintings are ready when the season is ready and that is how it should be.
Writing about Thanksgiving is keeping me here, present in the reality of the holiday. Tables are being set, plans made, food gathered to be prepared for those hungry for connection. No wondering needed why this really is my favorite holiday.