Many months after coronavirus radically changed our world, we don’t know anybody that is not having a difficult time. The greatest balancing mechanism we’ve found is to express gratitude for the many things we do still have. The best description we know of what gratitude does is by wise woman Melanie Beatty:

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.

So this Thanksgiving season, we are doing just that: giving thanks for what we have, even as we acknowledge great loss. Expressing thanks and blessings are a all part of gratitude. Here are our favorites. All are fine shared over Zoom or whatever table we find ourselves at…:

Sally Schneider

Pablo Neruda’s “Ode to Gratitude” is wondrous read aloud:

Thanks to the word
that gives thanks.
Thanks to the gratitude
for how excellently
the word melts snow or iron.

The planet seemed full of threats
until soft
as a translucent
or sweet as a sugary petal,
from lip to lip,
it passed,
thank you,
magnificent, filling the mouth,
or whispered,
hardly voiced,
and the soul became human again,
not a window,
some clear shine
penetrated the forest:
it was possible again to sing beneath the leaves.

Gratitude, you are medicine
scorn’s bitter oxides,
light melting the cruel altar.

you are also
the carpet
the most distant men,
passengers spread out
through nature
and the jungle
of unknown men,
as the delirious train
penetrates a new country,
eradicating frontiers,
joined with the sharp-cusped
volcanoes, frost and fire,
thanks, yes, gracias, and the Earth
turns into a table,
a single word swept it clean,
plates and cups glisten,
forks jingle,
and the flatlands seem like tablecloths.

Thanks, gracias,
you travel and return,
you rise
and descend.
It is understood, you don’t
permeate everything,
but where the word of thanksgiving
appears like a tiny petal,
proud fists hide
and a penny’s worth of a smile appears.

And finally, these perfect words that came from reader Sybille Palmer years ago via email:

Let us treasure those who show up in our lives. Those who stand by our side.

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