Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Gradtitude Effect

"Thirty-six," he said, looking up at his mother and father. "That's two less than last year." (J.K. Rowling, The Sorcerer's Stone)

My first thought of a spoiled child, resorts to a chubby, young boy whom had the pleasure of getting everything on his birthday and Christmas list. Despite Dudley's boasting beginnings, in the end of the seven book series, Dudley still has a moment of gratitude on the last day he should ever see Harry Potter, his cousin who saved his soul from a dementor (an evil happiness sucking creature).

"Don't these people realize what you've been though? What dangers you are in? The unique position you hold in the heart of the anti-Voldemort movement?"

"Er-no, they don't," said Harry. "They think I'm a waste of space, actually, but I'm used to--"

"I don't think you're a waste of space."

If Harry had not seen Dudley's lips move, he might not have believed it. 


"S-so sweet, Dudders...." She sobbed into his massive chest. "S-such a lovely b-boy...s-saying thank you..."

"But he hasn't said thank you at all!" said Heatis indignantly. "He only said he didn't think Harry was a waster of space!"

"Yeah, but coming from Dudley, that's like "I love you,'" said Harry, torn between annoyance and a desire to laugh as Aunt Petunia contined to clutch at Dudley as if he had just saved  Harry from a burning building. (J.K. Rowling, The Deathly Hallows)

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It promotes people coming together in spite of the differences, and thriving because of it. Overlooking the hardness of life to recognize that life itself, is a gift. Even with Dudleys inability to properly express gratitude, there is promise. Thanksgiving is a continuation of that promise.

Each day this month, I reflected on one thing to be thankful for. As for this day, with turkey and sweet rolls filling my house with fragrances, and filling chairs with family and friends, an overwhelming peace settles on me.

This morning, my mother ruined the deviled eggs. Some how, her train of thought lead her to believe she was making egg salad, and she smashed the eggs white and yolks together, while we chatted away.  We didn't notice until a hour later, that a mistake was made. We made egg salad instead, luckily we had all the ingredients. Grateful that it was not the turkey we mistaked on, our thanksgiving still continues. Had it been the turkey, I still have plenty of chicken breast in the freezer.

Happiness has never been about things going perfectly.  Happiness is the aftermath of gratitude , and gratitude is a conscience decision. I posted my thankful thoughts each on facebook. Each time I did I had to consciencely decide what to be thankful for. Gratitude is an art, and all art takes practice. Thanksgiving is a time to practice your art, so you will improve your ability to have gratitude.

In a sense, you can say Thanksgiving is not about gratitude at all... it's about learning to be happy. With that I would like to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving; whether you get everything on your Christmas list, or someone saves your soul, or even, if your deviled eggs wind up as egg salad.