“I didn’t ask for a year like this has been. Why would I have?”
“You know what? I’d trade a boring life for this kind of grief anytime.”
“You’re telling me to be grateful at a time like this?”
I gotta tell you, I hate that exercise at the Thanksgiving when they go around and everyone has to say what they’re grateful for. Ugh! It’s like a gray-scale version of being suddenly locked in a squeeze with a too-desperate stranger at a conference get-to-know-you exercise and having them demand, “Say you love me. Say it like you mean it.” (Can you tell I’ve been there?)
And in a year in which so many families have experienced hardship and loss, it can be particularly wrenching to reach for any sense of gratitude, much less gratitude that has to be expressed, potentially in front of friends of friends, and over Zoom.
But THE HUMAN JOURNEY® gives me a tool for this, especially since it’s designed to help families joined by biology, choice, or mutual support to start to see the current “challenge of their lives” as ones they can not only get through, but rely on each other during. The THJ® experience does that by literally giving participants an experience of everything in their lives up to this point being something that has been given them — not just the “good” things, but everything. Maybe some things are easier to bear than others, but those things are no more gifts than the things that are a bear … to bear. Everything is a gift.
This is not a view specific to any one religion by any means. Rather, in the THJ® experience, you’re free to bring whatever belief you have. Maybe you believe that there is a Giver who has your ultimate best interests at heart. Maybe you believe that an impersonal universe provides. Or maybe you just believe that you’re standing at the door with a package in your hands; the UPS, or Fed Ex, or postal representative is nowhere to be seen; and there’s no return address (and certainly no returns).
And now the package is yours.
It’s still a gift.
This moment holds bounty. Whether or not you share it at the feast at the table, perhaps there is a way to acknowledge that the year has laid packages of experience at your doorstep, and they’ve contained all kinds of things.
And the address on them was yours.
Maybe this is an opportunity to humbly acknowledge it all, and not to separate what has been easy from what has been hard to bear. Whether we do that out loud at the table or Zoom station, or in writing, meditation, prayer, or with a loving other, perhaps the bounty is in that whole.