Claire LaZebnik’s Thoughts on Thanks

Posted on November 26, 2014 at 9:39 am

I can’t think of a better way to start Thanksgiving weekend than taking a few minutes to read my friend Claire LaZebnik’s wise and inspiring essay on gratitude. This most American of holidays is often accompanied by stress — from hosting and being hosted, from traveling, from family. Claire writes movingly about the way that cultivating gratitude has helped her through challenging times.

I feel like an exposed nerve these days, and that means the smallest touch can hurt, but it also means I’m exponentially more sensitive to the good stuff, too. As I stop focusing on tomorrow–because lately I’ve just been trying to get through one day at a time–I find myself much more aware of, and grateful for, every email from a friend, every encouraging comment on FB, every shared pastry at Starbucks, every stranger who smiles at me instead of shoving by, every good-natured exchange, every moment of solidarity, and every example of generosity, whether it’s directed at me or someone else.

There’s so much in the news that’s sad and scary but so much in my own life that’s decent and affirming. For a while, it felt like I couldn’t see that. I knew it intellectually: I just couldn’t feel it. But this is the strange gift of my own struggles: I’ve become very aware of the choices we all make at every moment of the day–how we can choose to be kind and generous or malicious and selfish–and I’m so grateful that the people I care about make the choice to be kind. I’m pretty sure that kindness, love, and generosity are all we’ve got to fall back on when everything else feels wrong or meaningless, and that every positive interaction makes life that much more livable for all of us. And the more I stop to notice the goodness all around me, the less hopeless I feel.

Wishing everyone a Thanksgiving filled with the bounty of friends, family, and blessings to be counted and shared.

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