what gratitude can hold…
November 21, 2012
It’s starting….the gratitude lists, the thankfulness trees, the season of giving. The time when we take stock of all that we have. When we weigh and score it, and go back to recognizing that our most basic needs are met.
We remind ourselves that we have food (even if it’s ramen noodles), and shelter (even if we always pay the rent late) and are healthy (or mostly healthy, except for that annoying eczema) and it’s true, it’s all so very true and good and important…
…but why is it that this time of year also reminds you of everything you don’t have and shows the craters in your heart that need filling more than you want to know. Your awkward conversations with your family drive you to liquor up for the 48 hours ahead… or that you shopped at the thrift store of food, the grocery salvage….or that it feels like everyone is in love around you and ridiculously happy…or you want to have your old family together and wish you didn’t have to travel between parents and be with your annoying stepmom…or you just wish that you had a baby to pass around or sit on your hip as you make the green bean supreme and 100 other side dishes.
It feels as though Gratitude asks us to stuff that shit or put it down completely, be GRATEFUL, damn it…and you do, you are, because we want to grateful. …but I wonder if Gratitude never asked us to choose in the first place.
I wonder if she can hold both, because she is that deep, she is that strong, because she knows all of our heart….
I wonder if she is strong enough to hold:
your sadness that your mom isn’t here to cook with you
your clarity of all that matters to you even if it’s sort of messed up
your confusion over why your family is so hard to be with or not together at all
that one prayer your dad still makes everyone pray that means so much to him
your anger for that really old thing that is still wounding you
your souffle triumph
your longing for something more, something whole, a love you haven’t experienced yet
your crazy aunt with all the cats
your frustration that the effin’ turkey is dry every year and no one wants to dress up to come to the table
your deep wish to be in another place in your heart all together
your small moment of happiness when everyone is full and happy after the meal
your kids that can’t sit still and want to bring the DS to the dinner table
your exhaustion from trying to make things special, and will maybe never been seen or acknowledged
your hope that maybe some day, you will be okay on a holiday
your grief, your messy love, your trying
I wonder if we let her hold it, it will make space for all the good things we do not see or think we are supposed to see and feel…and maybe just maybe, they can rise and sit together. Side by side, our everything hard and good…and maybe that will be okay.
…because sometimes, just okay is okay.
maybe then, we can breathe…and let her hold us too.