Even though we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving here in New Zealand, online it is almost impossible to miss, as my US friends travel, cook turkeys and share recipes and enthusiasm for pumpkin lattes (whatever they are), or talk about things and people in their lives for which they are thankful. Those of us who are very early in the journey towards a happy life without the children they had hoped for, often struggle to be thankful for anything, but those of us who are many years into this life know how much gratitude can help us in this journey, and it is something I’ve tried to bring into my everyday life.
So this month, a blogger and social media friend participated in a month of daily gratitudes, and commented one day that she was “grateful that her hard work paid off,” (referring to a particular achievement). I wonder if she knows how much I appreciated her simple phrasing, her acknowledgement – one that we all know so well – that sometimes, hard work doesn’t pay off? My readers know this, having been through infertility and loss, and my mother knows this, as she sits in a hospital waiting for a place in a care home due to her declining health and memory, and my sister knows this, also sitting in a hospital in another part of the country, with her child who faces health battles every day. None of us are immune from the reality that you can't in fact achieve anything you want, and that hard work doesn't always pay off, and that sometimes accepting this is the hardest and bravest thng you can do.
So even though Thanksgiving has passed, I’m thankful for friends and those who see past stereotypes, who understand the power of words and who use them thoughtfully. And since I have a sentence remaining, I am thankful too for those who care for those in need, whether paid or unpaid, and all those who show kindnesses and consideration to friends and family going through a hard time.