As we boarded our plane, my eyes gravitated toward the front seat. A young woman, with black horn-rimmed glasses, reddish blonde hair looked down, aware of the stares she might receive as people scurried to find an open seat. My daughter noticed first. “Momma, where are her legs?” she asked as we landed in on our seats. “They didn’t grow properly, honey, so she has to lay on her stomach and use a wheelchair to help move.” The plane lurched forward and our conversation stopped momentarily.
When we landed, we intersected again with the same woman. An airline worker pushed her wheelchair, while she laid on her stomach, her gaze focused on the front. I saw her smile at the older couple who waited for her. As we passed them, I heard her zealous greeting and the genuine tone in her words, “I am so glad to see you.”
I held that image in my mind as I walked to baggage claim. Under my breath, I murmured,what I witnessed is gratitude. It is about appreciating wholly what you have without the want of anything else. It is sinking into the texture of the moment, without wishing it away. Gratitude is just that, knowing that it is a privilege to experience the montage of your passage through time. Some of those experiences may circle around happiness or sadness or loss or learning or joy or boredom. But that’s just it. All of it is only yours.
During Thanksgiving, I am circling back to my childhood playground, spending time with those that I love the most. The aura of giving thanks tends to shine brighter during Thanksgiving, but it is a practice I try to incorporate in my daily life. Some days are harder than others, but the intention is to feel that magnetic pull of appreciating the grace that exists in my ordinary days.
“True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient, for he that is so wants nothing. The greatest blessings of mankind are within us and within our reach. A wise man is content with his lot, whatever it may be, without wishing for what he has not.” — Seneca
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. Submerge yourself in the gratitude of the moment.