Immersion in Gratitude

It is rare in life to receive an unexpected gift that moves us on a profound level.  I am talking about the kind of gift that captures your heart and creates a deep feeling of gratitude.  I was fortunate to receive such a gift on Thanksgiving Day this year.

I am in Maine for Thanksgiving with my son, his girlfriend, her family, and a friend.  I walk into the kitchen and my son and his girlfriend are cooking and making final preparations for our meal together.  It is their first Thanksgiving together and the first meal they are preparing for their families.  Shortly, I begin to notice calmness to their work together and beautiful softness to their relationship.  It is hard to believe that they have only been together less than a year.  There is an unspoken flow to how they work together as they prepare their bounty, stir their pots, and offer a glass of wine to their parents.  It reminds me of how my husband and I set out forty years ago to do our first Thanksgiving together as a young couple, but absent the calmness and flow.

The place for our dinner is a quaint two-room cabin with a wood burning stove on their property.  We walk in and I feel like I am stepping into a photo shoot for Architectural Digest.  The room is glowing with strings of lights and candles.  The wooden picnic table is set to perfection with simple plates and glasses accompanied with handmade napkins stamped with each person’s initials.  Twigs and branches of various sizes and shapes from the local woods serve as the perfect decoration on the table and lay over the string of lights above the table.  The only thing that shines brighter than the light in the room is my son and his girlfriend’s talent for creating this idyllic setting.  I feel I am witness to the rare occasion of many elements of a meal and its setting coming together like strands of silk woven into a beautiful tapestry.

As we enjoy the delicious food, the conversation is personal, meaningful, and heartfelt.  I sit feeling pride for what my son and his girlfriend have accomplished.  I recognize that something else is happening for me on a deeper level as well.  I feel a pervading stillness that allows me to clear my mind and settle into my heart to feel emotionally connected to each person in the room with complete attention.  It is a feeling that I want to hold on to as the day slips away all too quickly.  Once again in life I am reminded of the unexpected gifts that come to us from others.  I am full of gratitude on this Thanksgiving Day for the life lessons from a new generation.