This is Part III of A Week of Gratitude.
If you were to choose one single thing or category of thing for which to be thankful, what would it be? What would you miss most if you didn’t have it? What would you miss most if you were on a desert island? What would you miss most if you were in a hospital bed at the end of your life?
No, not ice cubes or showers. Not even your health. I suspect what you would miss most if you didn’t have it is people. People who love you. Isn’t that what we all want most of all?
This blog is dedicated to the most important people in our lives.
First, who has been the most influential in your life? My guess is, for good or ill, most of us would choose our parents. They are certainly the ones who teach us about right and wrong whether through words or actions. They are the ones who (do or do not) show us love. They are the ones who (do or do not) take care of us.
Many of us might also choose a teacher or two. Our grade school teachers are probably the adults who spent the most time with us, with the possible exception of our parents. Some of us might choose grandparents or siblings. Others of us may have had spiritual teachers – Sunday School teachers, rabbis, priests, ministers, gurus. If you went to college, there was probably a professor or two who were particularly influential. What about a Boy Scout leader or a community leader? What about a coach or a therapist?
What about famous people? Whom have you been influenced by? I’m sure many people would choose Jesus or some other spiritual leader – maybe the Dalai Lama or the Pope or a saint or mystic or Mohammed. Maybe Mother Teresa or Gandhi. If you’re studying law, no doubt you’ve been influenced by a famous lawyer. If you’re a political person, I imagine there is a political figure you admire. If you’re athletic, I’m sure there are several athletes whom you admire. If you’re an artist or a movie maker, I’m positive there’s a famous artist or director you emulate.
Are you grateful for Martin Luther King? Oprah? Harriet Tubman? Chief Seattle? How about Abraham Lincoln? Gloria Steinem? Albert Einstein?
Let’s remember to be grateful for all those who have inspired us or been an example to us.
Who has helped you along the way? Is there anyone in your life who has helped to fund something very important to you? Your college education, perhaps? Or an important trip? Is there someone who bought you your first car? Someone who helped you buy your first home? These are people for whom we need to remember to be grateful. If we never got our college education, for instance, we might never have had that job that helped us to buy food for our families and pay our rent or mortgage. If we never made that trip, we might have missed out on some very important life experiences.
What about those who gave you moral and emotional support at significant turning points in your life? Who was there for you during a crisis in your marriage? Who supported you after a divorce? Who helped you get sober? Who was there for you when you lost someone you loved dearly? Who was there to support you when your teenager got into trouble? Who brought meals when you were sick?
Who has helped you when you’ve moved? Who helped you pack, lift boxes, move heavy furniture? Who helped you repair broken-down cars or change flat tires? Who has given you rides to and from airports? Who has cooked meals for you for twenty years or more? Who has cleaned your house and done your laundry? Who has born your children? Who has paid for your glasses or given you money for clothes or helped furnish your home?
Without these angels in human form, our life would be completely different. Let’s remember to give thanks for these beautiful friends.
Who has loved you best?
Who in your life has loved you best and most unconditionally? Was it a parent, grandparent, sibling, aunt? If you’ve had dogs or cats in your lives, certainly this would be a good time to remember them. Are you grateful for your spouse or partner? If they didn’t love you unconditionally, were they nevertheless there for you during certain times of your life?
Do you have girlfriends or guy friends who have been in your life through thick and thin? What would our lives be like without these friends?
I believe the people in our lives are among our greatest blessings. We all need to feel loved. None of us wants to feel alone.
Please, if there are people in your life whom you love and are grateful for, tell them. Tell them often. Love them as well as you can.
I am so very, very grateful for my friends and family.
May each one be blessed.
If you are reading this, may you also be blessed.
A most beautiful Thanksgiving to you!