Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Thoughts

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.
It turns what we have into enough, and more.
It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity.
It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events.
Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
—Author Melody Beattie

I was at an AA meeting yesterday when a man with 22 years of sobriety said he was sick of talking about the Thanksgiving holiday. The topic was gratitude. There were half a dozen newcomers in the room.
He wasn’t homeless. He had a dinner invitation for Thanksgiving Day. I was just dumbfounded.
The clubhouse where the meeting was held was offering marathon meetings and a Thanksgiving feast for all comers.
It’s not my place to sit in judgment of what people share in meetings, but I can sure wonder about their message.
A long time ago, my sponsor spoke from the podium about gratitude. Once upon a time, she said, a miracle worker healed ten lepers. He told them to run and show themselves to the priests to confirm that they were disease-free. It was a bad disease to have; it made you an outcast and a beggar.
Sure enough, the priest confirmed the lepers were no longer lepers, Of the ten who were healed, only one came back to tell the miracle worker thank you. The miracle worker heaped a double blessing on that leper, who was overjoyed by his freedom.
Her point was that we sit in rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous, having been saved from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body. Do we practice gratitude for our freedom? Do we remember to go the source of our healing and say thank you?
Do we remember, as we compile years of sobriety, to be grateful for those years? Do we leave the newcomer alone, thinking someone else will nab him or her and offer encouragement? Do we remember every day is a gift contingent on our relationship with our Creator, and we must freely give what we have so freely been given?
Gratitude is one of the most powerful tools in our spiritual tool bag. Do we get caught up in our opinions and our plans, and forget that we are in this lifeboat together, with all the joy of a drowning man who has been saved?

My gratitude list today is short.
God save me from taking my sobriety for granted. Thank you for this day, even if my expectations of it are not met, even if I feel sad for the loss of family members missing from the table.
Thank you that I’m sober and building a feast for a few to share, and that we have all we need today.
Thank you that I have a cold and it makes me really appreciate my good health.
Thank you for what you have given me, thank you for what you have taken away from me, and thank you for what you have left for me. It all makes me grow stronger in my faith.
May you all have a blessed day.


Just Be Real said...

Thank you Chris for posting your gratitude list and being thankful for many things! What a blessings.

Karen said...

Your whole meditation today is powerful, but I am struck that you thank God for your cold. This reminds me of my aunt who always thanks God for everything. Even though the rain makes her body ache, she thanks God for the rain, which replenishes the earth. There's a lesson here for all of us.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Syd said...

Wonderfully said Chris. I am thankful for so many things. Your kind words yesterday are much appreciated. Today is a new day and I am filled with gratitude for so much in my life. I miss my old girl but she knows how much she was loved.

the walking man said...

One need not be constrained by a tumultuous past. I would for myself rather see the actions of gratitude than hear the words of them. Words are good, actions better and more instructive eh?

Nessa said...

Have a great day.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving if you celebrate and a Happy Thursday just to celebrate.Thursday Thirteen

Madison said...

What a beautiful Thanksgiving post - and a reminder to me to choose to be thankful all day - no matter how those around me may feel.

Brian Miller said...

a beautiful list today...sometimes it is that which is taken away that makes us apreciate what is left...i hope you have ana amazing thanksgiving!

Prayer Girl said...

I'm with you in your thinking. I cannot imagine someone with 22 years (or any number of years) not being grateful.

UNLESS - the person does not really have the program, i.e. a spiritual connection.

I have heard the same thing in meetings, "Oh, do we have to talk about gratitude again?"

I never tire of the subject even when things aren't going so well for me (in my opinion). :)

Love and Happy Thanksgiving,

Tall Kay said...

What an inspring message! Happy Thanksgiving to you and Joe and all those blessed to be with you today!

Dianne said...

Now I see the strength from which you reach out to others and the peace that you seek, are giving it to others, newcomers or not.

Peace be with you, as the miracle worker said.
love you

Lou said...

Great post--we can be grateful even when expectations are not met. Accentuate the positive!

Anonymous said...

Love your gratitude list, and thanks for the beautiful post!!! Hope you are enjoying your Thanksgiving holiday :)

Lady_Amanda said...

I am a newcomer to your blog. I really liked your post. Although, I am not a recoverying alcholic, I can relate. I live with schizophrenia. Visit my blog sometime and tell me what you think.

It was rather interseting that you shared about the ten leapers because I was a lector today a church for thanksgiving mass. My priest did his sermon on the ten leapers and compared those that use the holiday of thanksgiving to glorify the Lord as the one leaper that came back. You look life you have an inspiring blog. I will stop by again.


big Jenn said...

I'm grateful to have you in my blogger life. jeNN

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this. I love Melody too. She taught me to be grateful for all of it.