It’s the month of November, the month we celebrate Thanksgiving. The month we supposedly deeply feel, express and show gratitude in all its forms. And yet, right out of the gates, I have felt like complaining this first week. I’ve read things that have gotten under my skin, been irritated with tasks I’ve been volunteered for (ahem, voluntold for), there are things I want to get done and haven’t been able to, and there’s my struggling to be and do everything, everywhere, all at once. Plus there are very real and unfair things taking place at this time in my life. Things I can’t control and just have to deal with or ignore. If anyone has a right to complain just a little, it’s me.
And yet there are blessings too. And there are times I think, when the only way to deal with things is to shift our state and be reminded of our blessings.
And so I often find inspiration comes in unusual forms in my life, if I’ll just but listen.
I am a dreamer. It is part of who I am. I have always dreamed dreams of significance. As such, it is really interesting sometimes the things that come out as wonderful experiences and lessons that often only the dream world can provide. I keep saying I’ll write a book about my dreams. Maybe someday.
One night I had an opportunity to reflect within during my sleep. There were all sorts of things dreaming through my head that night, but at one point, I suddenly became aware of a single state of being – Gratitude.
In my dream, all the people of my childhood began to flow before my eyes, like a river of stories. But they weren’t the major figures that are easy to look back upon and remember. The people I was reminded of were those who played small but important roles, whether I was aware of them as a child or not. Some of them had faces and others, I did not know them, but I was shown stories of the roles they played that at some point made way into my life.
The grade school principal who I rarely saw or was aware of, but who depended heavily upon my mother as PTA president, the parent volunteers who put together the carnival I bought my first jewelry at, the mother who part-time coached my basketball and volleyball team one year, the grandmother from church who rode the bus with my brother to make sure he got to basketball tournaments without mishap, the friends of my parents who were great about supporting their role as parents and sometimes took us kids to give them a break, the lady at the concession stand who always had a smile, the mothers who volunteered to cook in that hot cabin kitchen at summer camp whose faces I can’t even see, the teenagers who listened to my stories as a kid, the girl who taught me to make mud pies. And there were so many more. Such small and even tiny events in my life throughout my childhood and then on into my adulthood.
So many people who had indirect and yet important positive influence upon my life. And it was time for every one of them to be told “Thank You.” Thank you for who you were then and who you are now. Thank you for the small roles you have played, even if you didn’t think it mattered or anyone noticed. Thank you for doing things the best you could or stepping out to do a small thing that had a trickle down effect upon the Soul that I AM. Thank you for taking the time to Smile and to Listen. Thank you for believing in me even when I didn’t know you. Thank you for playing chase with a couple of bored kids stuck at an adult gathering. Thank you for loving my parents and believing that their job was important enough to support, even when you did not have children of your own. Thank you for judging and encouraging me at the science fair. Thank you for sending my teacher that info on volunteer opportunities for young kids. Thank you for taking the time at the grocery store to tell me that a bag of apples can help you make a long drive better than gallons of coffee. It’s saved me time and again!
Yes – those carnivals you slaved over meant something and positively affected us as kids. Yes, taking the time to laugh at our jokes and look at our creations made a difference. Yes, that piggyback ride at the church picnic made for a positive reference point in my sense of community. Yes, that handful of change you gave me at the store, when you didn’t even know me, touched my heart. Yes, that heart-felt talk you had at the city council meeting changed my life for the better, even if you weren’t sure what you were going to say or who would agree with you.
Your insecurities don’t matter. What does matter is what you did in spite of them and I thank you.
Thank you for the sense of community you fostered and gave me as an internal foundation to return to time and time again. You have been a great teacher to me, even if you don’t remember me and we pass unknowingly on the street today.
We have connected, you and I. And I am so very grateful!