212 Expressing Gratitude

The staff at Brookdale Memory Care, working with Dad every day, every hour, when things are beyond difficult and messy.

So many people work to make our world flow like a well oiled machine.  Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the numbers.  And Christmas is a time when we can share our gratitude.  Even as that thought arose, my mind pointed to the overwhelm being an attempt to squish so much into a tiny space in our time (and even financial) continuum.  First thought, let the gratitude flow.  

I can start in November at Thanksgiving and ooze on over to Valentine’s Day.  Easy.  That will allow for covering more people with less stress!  I’ve already blown the window for November/December of this year.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Expressing Gratitude.
Expressing Gratitude Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Usually, the breadth of the people who touch my life contains itself a bit more.  2020 blasts the door off the past.  There are so many people I will never be able to thank.  

A medical team literally saved my life this year.  The anesthetist, the surgeon, the nurses and technicians, the people who kept the spaces clean, the ones who donated blood and those who draw mine regularly, the people who prepared the medications in the lab, the infusion center staff.  The list is longer.  I will never even know.  I will send out prayers of gratitude for everyone.  I would love to thank them personally, and can with a few.

At Christmas, I am usually scoping out my daily existence.  The mail delivery, that visits us so many days of the year, endlessly delivering the packages to our doorstep.  The garbage and recycling people, here once a week without fail, doing a job I enjoy admiring from afar.  The staff at Brookdale Memory Care, working with Dad every day, every hour, when things are beyond difficult and messy.  My wound care nurse, again, a regular job that just isn’t pretty. 

Entrance to Brookdale Alderwood Memory Care

Brookdale Alderwood Memory Care

The list goes on. People have hairdressers, counselors, massage therapists, cleaners.  There might be people that work on the home or organize the book club.  Every week, a support crew of many makes shopping and living possible.

Where I am able, a personal thank you is especially important.  If I can thank someone directly, I am acting with my gratitude, but also collecting the gratitude of others that feel the same way.  People who realize that the waiter or waitress is giving energy and positivity to our food need their hearts to be replenished with our love and gratitude.

So I look around, and I thank the overwhelm and send it away.  I focus on this enormous number of people who make my life work, and I let that really sink into my heart.  It feels like the Grinch heart, like it’s expanding, growing three size larger, five, ten.  I am so thankful!  I am abundantly grateful.

The Light of Christmas Photo by Alexis Subias on Unsplash

And, when possible, I figure out ways to share that feeling, to touch the individuals that I can touch.  It could be looking into the eyes of the person behind the cash register, asking how their day is going, and listening.  That’s enough.  A sincere “thank you for being here for us” makes a difference.

It can be tokens, or tips, or other physical forms of gratitude for the ones in the closer circle.  A quick card.  A quirky little line.  A small but thoughtful remembrance.  Anything, everything.  It matters.  The noticing, the effort, the love matters.

Since the entire symbolism of the season is the bringing of the light, expressing the light is the point.  Go out there and shine!  

(And then don’t stop because January starts.  Take it to the next day, and the next, and the next…)

Author: Michele Plumb Stowell

Michele Stowell was a teacher, a hand holder, and encouraging voice. Born an early Gen Xer, she has lived in Western Washington for the duration. Her children, two spectacular genetic daughters and an uncountable number of marvelous scout and school sons and daughters, shine as her biggest impact and her greatest blessing. Just before her 54th birthday, Michele was diagnosed with stage four cancer. Her writing and art work are expressions of the drama and the joy of living earth bound. On October 24, 2021, Michele was released from her physical body, transported to continue her work on other realms.

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