This I Believe

Celia - Oakland, California
Entered on October 24, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: gratitude
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I believe in Thanks Giving. Not Thanksgiving, one run-together word about pilgrims and pumpkin pie. Thanks Giving: two words, about saying thank you. Thanks Giving, two words, I try to celebrate every day. I give thanks to everything, for everything, that I come across. I find it brings me joy and perhaps others as well.

I started Thanks Giving after my third child was born. A wonderful child, a gift, she has severe physical disabilities. At six years old she cannot walk, nor crawl, nor even roll over with ease. She cannot feed herself, dress herself, wipe herself. She will never bounce a ball, tie her shoes, or cut paper with scissors.

One day, when she was still an infant and the tragedy was still new to me, I sat nursing her and crying. She broke off nursing, burped, and gave me a winning smile. Thank you, God, she can smile, I thought. So Thanks Giving began.

At first, I practiced Thanks Giving about her. Thank you, she is intelligent. Thank you, she is stubbornly independent. Thank you, she has a wicked sense of humor.

I began giving thanks to her. Thank you for living your life so joyfully. Thank you for the beautiful scribbly picture. Thank you for misbehaving like any kid would do. Thank you for singing even though you can’t speak.

Then I began giving thanks to people. Thank you, doctors, for caring about my child’s health. Thank you, aides, for giving her your energy and strong backs. Thank you, teachers, for teaching her to use a computer. Thank you, computer designers, for making tools my daughter can use.

I found that giving thanks made me happy. It lifted me away from what was sad and lost, focussed me on what was good and possible. Now I give thanks to and for everything. Thank you, sun, for shining. Thank you, green plants, for growing into vegetables. Thank you, all my children, for being joy in my life.

I still celebrate Thanksgiving, one word, with family and dinner. Also, instead of Christmas cards, I send Thanks Giving cards. All year I keep a list of people who have done things for which I am thankful, things big and small. Around the end of November I send them cards: Thank you to the laborer for painting my fence so well. No paint drips on the sidewalk! Thank you to the grocery store for giving my restless kids balloons. Thank you to the clerk who bent the rules so I could get my paperwork submitted on time. Thank you to my auto mechanic. Thank you to my friends.

I believe it makes people happy to be reminded of something they did, perhaps months ago, which someone else appreciated. I believe it makes me happy to remember the good things that people do. I believe in Thanks Giving.

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