Thankful for…?

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This is the Fifty-Nineth article in a semipermanent column for Stroud Arts that appears in the Stroud American. The mission of these articles is to inform, educate and inspire you, the reader, to Make Art Happen in your life and the life of our community.

Sometimes it is difficult to be ‘Thankful.’ In the midst of adversity, we have a tendency to only be aware of the immediate crisis situation and are somewhat unable to realize that this event is only that… an event.

Like all events, no matter their duration and intensity, this current event will ultimately pass away and we will move from it… into another event. Thus, the cycle of life continues and we may or may not be any wiser from our recent experiences, especially if we have not taken the time to reflect on the adverse event and uncover the possible lessons, both positive and negative that the experience may hold. In short, we need a season of reflection

Traditionally, Late Fall and Winter is the season of reflection. As the days grow shorter, the nights darker and the wind can be seen in frosty exhalations, our minds inherently replay the events of the recent and distant past.

This Season of Reflection begins with the golden and red leaves falling from the trees. Ultimately, the wind gathers these organic yard decorations together into huddles of crisp, brown piles that are seemingly randomly scattered about the yard where they lend their visual and crunchy impact to the spooky Halloween Festivities.

Unfortunately, many of us do not realize that we should be thankful for the piles of yard leaves, for by their disintegration, they provide nourishment to our yards and prepare the ground for healthy Spring growth.

The purpose of the yard leaves is only something that can discovered through reflection.

As the Fall season advances toward Winter, we are granted a day of Gratitude and Thanksgiving. This day has traditionally been a time to gather around a lavish feast and reconnect with our sometimesdistant families.

This holiday event is often characterized by strenuous travel, frantic home cleaning followed by household decoration, and the often-unappreciated Chef, who spends many uncounted hours crafting and displaying a gorgeous meal, that will disappear in 1/10th the time it took to prepare.

In the flurry of our preparations it is difficult to express gratitude for all that we have and can share and only upon reflection and recollection of Thanksgivings, both recent and long passed, that we truly understand the grace and beauty that is this season.

Only with the coming of the deeps of Winter can the magic of the season of Gratitude truly be expressed. The skies are grey more often than not.

The days are colder, the nights bring freezing temperatures and there is occasional or continuous snow, sleet, hail, tornados (this is Oklahoma after all.) and we spend more days inside that out.

How can we be grateful when the very elements drive us from one enclosure to another and the inclement weather seems to conspire against our ability to be Thankful and show Gratitude?

The answer is mysterious, timeless and obvious. It is also unique to each individual, group and family. We reflect on the lesson we are currently being taught.

We make the wisdom from the experience a part of ourselves and we prepare to move on to the next event.

After all, life is a series of events and we should be both Grateful and Thankful for the lessons of each event, whether positive or negative, as it is our reflection on each individual event that ultimately makes us into the unique individual, group or family we are.

Reflect on these words and have a Happy Thanksgiving.