A Very Personal Act Of Thanksgiving
To achieve a life of success, no matter how you define it, gratitude is imperative …we all know this. But, our gratitude must also extend to our self. It’s easy for us to forget that. We shouldn’t.
Like me, you may have heard people express regrets as they approach the winter of their years about their shortcomings and failures. Often they are disappointed that their lives didn’t quite turn out they way they had planned, had expected, or had hoped. Most of us enter adulthood full of ideas, spirit, energy, and grand intentions. It seems at the time that we are eternal, if not immortal.
We eventually discover, however, that while life can be fun and engaging, it also becomes progressively more challenging when dealing with finances, careers, families, responsibilities, losses, and so much more. Most of us do an admirable job navigating the changes and challenges. We work hard and do what we feel is the right thing. We set goals and lay out life plans, but often find it increasingly more difficult to stay on track. We find that the years pass faster than we imagined they could. We learn to grow with our years and deal with our tears. Maybe we feel that we will never be able to make the mark that we had planned.
As I write this, the movie “Mr. Holland’s Opus”comes to mind. As Mr. Holland, portrayed by Richard Dreyfuss, approaches the end of his career, seemingly disappointed with his mundane accomplishments in work and life, he is presented with evidence that his work ethic and compassion over the years have made a mark much more meaningful than he thought. This opus ends with quite a crescendo. (If per chance you haven’t seen this movie, I highly recommend that you do. It is a very moving and uplifting film.)
No matter what you have achieved in life …or haven’t, Max Ehrman, author of “Desiderata,” penned a poem called “A Prayer” that makes it a bit easier for us to accept ourselves for who we are, and to thank ourselves for our efforts in life.
Enjoy, and please do be thankful to yourself for yourself.
by Max Ehrman
Let me do my work each day;
And if the darkened hours of despair overcome me,
May I not forget the strength that comforted me
In the desolation of other times.
May I still remember the bright hours that found me
Walking over the silent hills of my childhood,
Or dreaming on the margin of the quiet river,
When a light glowed within me,
And I promised my early God to have courage
Amid the tempests of the changing years.
Spare me from bitterness
And from the sharp passions of unguarded moments.
May I not forget that poverty and riches are of the spirit.
Though the world knows me not,
May my thoughts and actions be such
As shall keep me friendly with myself.
Lift my eyes from the earth,
And let me not forget the uses of the stars.
Forbid that I should judge others,
Lest I condemn myself.
Let me not follow the clamor of the world,
But walk calmly in my path.
Give me a few friends who will love me for what I am;
And keep ever burning before my vagrant steps
The kindly light of hope.
And though age and infirmity overtake me,
And I come not within sight of the castle of my dreams,
Teach me still to be thankful for life,
And for time’s olden memories that are good and sweet;
And may the evening’s twilight find me gentle still.
Happy Thanksgiving to all. (even if it’s not a holiday for you today) :)