We are not lucky, my father would tell me. Luck is for people that win the lottery. We are fortunate.
Thanksgiving was my dad’s favorite holiday (with the Fourth of July a close 2nd – as a former Lieutenant Commander in the Navy who fought in World War II, he was definitely a patriotic man). He told me once people always selected Christmas as their favorite time of year, as if that was the right and proper answer (with the birth of Christ and all). But for him, it was Thanksgiving. That 4th Thursday in November – a day dedicated to giving thanks, for acknowledging your blessings, and yes, for realizing just how fortunate you are.
Today it feels like all of us are dodging bullets on our own private battlegrounds. I scolded my husband for saying we are all just one blink away from disaster/crisis/tragedy (fill in the blank) – but he is right. It is as though we are tightrope walkers, teetering on a thin line known as life. Today we are fine. Yet, one slight hesitation, one little misstep, and down we go.
In a blink of an eye, life changes. The devastating diagnosis, the horrific car crash, the loss of a job – or 401K saving accounts, and poof! Gone just like that.
And just as fast, in that same instant, good fortune can pop in too. A friend, financially struggling in the worst way, forced to give up things like health insurance, a phone, and what others would call the basic essentials, interviews for a new job and lands a 6-figure income. Just like that – she is back on her feet!
Another friend, resigned after so many years alone to live without love, meets a man while waiting at a deli. They continue their conversation at a coffee shop next door; that was over a year ago and now wedding rumors fly. Regardless, we have never seen her look so happy.
It all happens so quickly. At times it feels like all we really can do is just be grateful for that which we have. No matter what our circumstances, we can always find people who have it worse – or better – than us. All we have to do is hold fast to the belief that the more we give thanks, the more blessings come our way.
My father knew this. We are fortunate, he would say. Whether his business was doing well, or they were struggling to make ends meet, that was his mantra.
As we sit around the Thanksgiving table this year, this Zen Mama Wannabe will think of his optimism, of his generous spirit, and remember the words he taught me in hard times and in good: we are fortunate!
(This blog entry is being entered in the November writing contest sponsored by Michelle at Scribbit, a mother of 4 living in Alaska. I had the opportunity to hear her speak at the BlogHer08 conference and found the info she shared really helpful. Her site offers many tips to bloggers -- thank you!!! -- as well as crafts and parenting insights and is definitely one to check out).