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.

7 Responses to “what gratitude can hold…”

  1. Lisa Says:

    Absolutely right on. What a beautiful post for this time of year. Yes, She can hold it all….the unfulfilled desires, longings…the griefs…the “not yets” the “no way’s”. Thank you, Patience. This is beautiful. Lisa

  2. TM Mitchell Says:

    I’m crying…….thank you for this.

  3. same as above Says:

    Amen, Patience. Here’s a toast to you, for helping so many of us “hold it all together”. And here’s to hoping that the many of us who love you can somehow help YOU to “hold it all together”. Thank you.

  4. Ann Says:

    Whoops! So sorry, Patience. My first time posting here has posted a goof-up which shows my name as ‘same as above’–my name is actually Ann. And no, I haven’t been celebrating too much yet! Peace.

  5. Jen Says:

    I am thankful to be able to read your posts. I look forward to reading your blog every day and wish I lived in Richmond to soak up some of your spirit. This holiday season is going to be a tough one for me as I’ll be turning 40 in a couple of weeks and don’t feel like I’m where I should be. I’ll keep my head held high and remember that just because this first half of my life meant nothing I still have time to make a difference.

    Thank you for spreading your kindness.


  6. Annie Delgado Says:

    You always give me things to think about. Thankk you.
    I’m grateful everyday. Happy Thanksgiving!

  7. Sabeen Says:

    This is lovely Patience. So happy to finally be reading your blog.

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