On December 27th last year, I started a gratitude journal. I used a prompt shared by a friend, a woman two years into her transition from assigned male at birth to female: share three pieces of gratitude for yourself and three pieces of gratitude for others or the world. My first entry spans large and small:
- I am grateful that I’m 48,011 words into my new novel. I will finish this first draft.
- I am grateful to feel my feelings. There has been some sadness and anger the past few days.
- I’m grateful I ran the dishwasher last night.
- I am grateful for cuddling with my dog on cold winter mornings.
- I’m grateful for the sunrise, hidden today by snow flurries and thick clouds, but the dawning happened anyway.
- I am grateful for Ellen, writing with me in the mornings.
I haven’t done this practice daily since last December, but I have stuck with it, sometimes once a week, sometimes a string of days in a row. There are themes: I continue to be grateful for my spouse and my dog. I continue to be grateful for my writing practice and those that support it. I continue to be grateful for my love of exercise and my physical abilities. I am always grateful for friends and family.
And then there was COVID-19. In my first entry after things shut down, I wrote: “I am grateful for a home to shelter in. I am grateful for sunshine and springtime alongside fear and uncertainty. I am grateful that I’m learning to call on help as I need it.”
Now here we are, Thanksgiving in a year of pandemic. I’ve always loved Thanksgiving: the food, time with family, games together. In recent years, I’ve held my love of the holiday alongside the pain it raises for Indigenous communities (see HERE and HERE and HERE). Today, I woke feeling a lot of sadness. I’ll see my family, but through Zoom. I’ll see my spouse, but only after he finishes his twelve-hour shift at the hospital. The majority of the day will be spent by myself with my dog.
The pandemic has been so hard.
And yet there is so much gratitude. I will write my six things this morning. I have shelter. I can feel my feelings, even when love and pain and sadness and anger intertwine. I can cuddle with my dog.
There will be family and games and green bean casserole.