Gratitude Day

April 1, 2008 at 9:52 am Leave a comment

I’ve decided to celebrate Gratitude Day today. This morning I picked up my father and step-mother (hereafter referred to as “my parents”) from the airport. They are visiting here in Europe for a month, 2 weeks of which they will spend with me and my family.

Gratitude Day is today, because I am grateful to be healthy, and grateful to have a good relationship with my parents, which wasn’t always the case. My birth parents split when I was eleven years old, and I got caught up in the typical misery of a divorced child of the Seventies, including post-separation financial crisis and loyalty conflicts.

For several years, I cut off contact with my father, as I was very angry and hurt. It wasn’t until I lived in Europe that I began to feel a need for a relationship with him. That was certainly influenced by the reality of such a distance and the fact that if something happened to him, many things would be left unresolved. Thus began a slow process of forgiveness and reconciliation, which took several years.

I am not thrilled about how things developed during the years of my youth and early adulthood, but at some point I realized that I had to let go of that. Let bygones be bygones, as the saying goes. Blaming someone for my suffering and ongoing agony doesn’t make it any less painful, and maintaining anger and disappointment only succeeds in making me bitter. The more human I allow myself to be, recognizing my own strengths and weaknesses, the better I can accept others – for how they are and how they behave. I may not always agree with their behavior, but acknowledge that it is pertinent to them.

The older I get, the more opportunities I have to make mistakes and learn from them, accompanied by the affirmation: I did the best I could at the time with the available resources. That affirmation I extend to everyone, trusting in the goodness of all people. We all do our best, and that is the best we can do. Realizing later that we could have done it better, doesn’t mean we did it wrong. It means we have gotten older and wiser, and can act more effectively, kindly, lovingly, thoughtfully or responsibly today. That is what counts for me.

Any day can be Gratitude Day. I like that better than “Thanksgiving” because it was one Thanksgiving some 30 or so years ago that I had the first dubious success of throwing up. 

Entry filed under: Family/Relationships, gratitude. Tags: , , .

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