On each step, I will offer a prayer of thanks.
With step one I give thanks for air, then water, food, my warm shoes, and my pillowed bed.
Steps fly by as I recite the names of my children, family, and friends, giving thanks for their love, companionship, and loyalty. I try not to forget the distant cousin or the grandparent I never met.
On the heels of those thanksgivings, I offer the names of people who gave me this walk through their kindness, knowledge, forgiveness, and comfort.
And there it is, my eyes well up remembering all the mercy I have known. I whisper to the wind the strangers who gave me a sign at the crossroads, the preacher who wrote a note when I was grieving, and an old friend who walked the woods with me decades ago.
Rounding the bend, I am surprised by the memories of people springing forth who taught me how to be a better person including my third-grade teacher, an outdoor educator, and a patient knitter.
Climbing a bit of hill I slow down to give thanks for all those I have loved who have died. I remember with each name a childhood memory, a story of an ancestor, and a dream of far-off lands.
I walk by a stream and find myself giving thanks for all the writers, musicians, and poets who encouraged me to live into my ideals and believe I could work for justice and love.
Coming down the other side I circle back towards home, I smell the barn. With a quickening pace, I focus on the gift of work. I take steps to say thanks to my working legs, for the ability to work and care for others, for my coworkers, for all the workers who do their jobs to help others be able to do the same.
Finally, I circle back around to the beginning, where nothing has changed, except the wonder that thanksgiving performs on my heart.
We don’t have to be happy to be grateful.
On this Thanksgiving, find gratitude and trust. Even if it doesn’t make you happy, you will be freer. When we can find gratitude for air, water, a memory, or a friend, we are free from the trap of resentment, cynicism, and fear.
There will always be scales that judge us as more or less valuable than our worth. Gratitude reminds us we have been shown mercy and received love.
We are worthy, beloved, and grateful people.