Michelle Martin

Giving thanks

Sunday, November 30, 2014

This is the season of Thanksgiving, and you can’t miss it: Facebook friends are writing daily posts about what they are thankful for, school halls are adorned with projects expressing students’ gratitude, people struggling to find any kind of positivity in their lives are advised to keep “gratitude journals,” reminding themselves of the gifts they have been given.

We Catholics shouldn’t have to wait for a Thanksgiving season to show gratitude, of course. The Eucharist — the source and summit of Catholic sacramental life — literally means “thanksgiving,” so we gather for a thanksgiving meal every time we go to Mass and receive Communion.

Still, the construction-paper turkey hanging on my refrigerator reminds me to think of what I am thankful for, and the list is long.

It starts, of course, with my family. My husband Tony, who loves me even when I’m hard to live with, and my children. My two teenagers still seem to like spending time with their parents, for which I’m grateful. Caroline, 16, introduces me to movies and TV shows and books that she likes, and sits up way too late discussing them. Frank, just about to turn 14, still likes to run 5K races with me, and still stands in the crowd at the start with me, even though his usual pace qualifies him to be closer to the front, with the faster runners. Teresa, 4 going on about 36, makes me laugh every day, whether by doing a silly dance or sharing her observations about the world around her.

My parents raised me and made my life possible, and my brother and sister offer perspectives on life that I can’t get anywhere else — with a certain bluntness I can’t get anywhere else, either.

I’m grateful for Tony’s family, who not only raised him, but also accepted me wholeheartedly and unconditionally. I’m especially grateful that his sister professes to truly enjoy making Thanksgiving dinner, pretty much letting us off the hook and freeing me up to run in a Turkey Trot with Frank every Thanksgiving morning.

That’s another thing I’m grateful for, mornings. The time when it’s quiet and fresh and it’s a new day with no mistakes in it, according to “Anne of Green Gables. I especially like the mornings of days that are destined to be busy by the end.

Of course, I’m grateful for Thanksgiving dinner, too, for a delicious meal and people I love to share it with. And for the medical science that gives me the insulin I need to metabolize my food, the health insurance that pays for it and the job that provides the health insurance. Quite a lot to be grateful for, really.

I hope everybody reading this has as much to be grateful for as I do.


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