November is a time to think about gratitude, especially here in the United States.
With our holiday dedicated to the concept of giving thanks for our many blessings on the horizon, I posed three questions to myself about things I am grateful for. Maybe you could answer one (or more) of the questions in the comment section. Or just tell me something you are grateful for.
When was loss a reminder to be grateful?
This has been a year of loss across the globe. The pandemic has caused an immeasurable loss for so many – loss of income, loss of health, loss of freedom, loss of lifestyle…I could go on.
The most significant loss for me, however, was the loss of my father-in-law, which was not pandemic related.
We visited my husband’s stepmother, his widow, last week, and the visit sparked a reminder for gratitude in me.
My mother-and father-in-law had been married for 44 years when he passed, the majority of them after he retired at age 55. They were inseparable.
Both of them were outgoing and made friends easily. They loved to go out dancing, shared similar political views, and were both extremely independent and stubborn, sometimes frustratingly so.
Last week, my mother-in-law told me, “I knew I would miss him, I just never knew how much.“
My husband of 42 years and I are now retired. We are inseparable. We are both outgoing and love to go running. We share political views and a stubborn streak. Let me remember to be grateful for the time we have together.
What is something easily overlooked that you are thankful for?
I have been sleeping better lately. Knock wood.
Not every night and certainly not all night, but recently I have been getting more hours of slumber, for which I am grateful.
I never realized until I lost it, how the ability to wake up rested affects my outlook for the day.
When I toss and turn for hours each night, I wake up crabby and anxious. Sleeping well, even if it is just for four or five hours, allows me to begin my morning with a much more calm and confident attitude.
It reminds me to be grateful for the small things.
What is something beautiful you are grateful for?
Last week we were blessed with several days of warm sunshine. It was shirtsleeve weather, unusual for November in Pennsylvania.
I was working in the yard with my husband, ostensibly raking leaves but actually taking in the sights of the final warm, bright days of the year.
Leaning on my rake, I happened to notice an unusual butterfly, a Comma, flitting among the late-blooming asters. (As a writer and daughter of an English teacher, how could I not love a butterfly named after punctuation?)
I walked over to get a better look at the Comma. She sat on the flowers and seemed to be panting. Her abdomen heaved with the exertion of breathing.
Yes, I thought, it’s tough, isn’t it, little Comma? It’s November. Winter is approaching and with it the loss of flowers, nectar, and the bright warm sunshine that fuels their growth.
I went inside and asked Mr. Google how Comma butterflies overwinter in our area. As it turns out, they store up nectar, then curl up in bark crevices or tree hollows and dream of spring.
This fact cheered me far more than I expected it to.
This little butterfly’s doom wasn’t imminent. She will doze the winter away in a cozy hidden nook until the warm spring sunshine awakens her.
When time is what we are given, I was elated to realize this Comma had far more time left than I anticipated. Unless, of course, a robin catches up to her.
I am grateful for the beauty of a butterfly on a November afternoon and the time I have remaining here in this sun-drenched world.
What are you grateful for today?
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