With Grateful Hearts

Last weekend I was sitting outside on our patio enjoying a socially distanced fireside chat with my neighbor Susan when she said, “You know – good things did happen in 2020.” I am from a large family and have siblings and grown children who live out of town, so our Thanksgiving table is usually a reunion of a large number of loud, boisterous, talkative people who have a lot of catching up to do.  While I was bemoaning the fact that, this year, we would not be surrounded by all those loving family members, her simple statement struck me as quite profound. In spite of all the ways this year has been so challenging, Susan is right  –  good things did happen in 2020. Here we were talking about our Thanksgiving plans and at that point we were able to really focus on giving thanks.

I do not want to dismiss the fact that so many are struggling greatly- especially those who are sick (over 85,000 Americans are hospitalized) or who have lost loved ones to this virus. It is incomprehensible that we have lost 258,957 in our country to COVID19. And so many are making great sacrifices to care for others who are sick and grieving. Not only do I have much to be grateful for, but I owe it to all of these good people to act with a grateful heart.

Here is a start to my gratitude list;

  • A loving, fun and close-knit family
  • An incredible husband and adult children with partners who love and support them
  • Our NDA community filled with dedicated educators, eager learners and supportive families
  • Generous benefactors who help us advance the mission of NDA in all we do
  • Notre Dame sisters ever inspiring us through example and prayer
  • Alumnae who really do make a difference in the world, especially those who are parents, educators, healthcare workers, first responders and community leaders

One of our family traditions is to begin our meal prayer with our “I’m thankful for (family member) because…” That tradition is on this year when 30 of us will meet on Zoom (of course!) and two of our youngest cousins, Nate and Cameron, will read each of our expressions of gratitude for another family member. There will be laughter, a few tears and a lot of love.

Just as my friend Susan opened my heart to being thankful, so too does our gratitude open our hearts to God’s goodness and love. In giving thanks we focus on all we have been given and our gratitude becomes a gift not only to others but to ourselves as well.  I hope you and your family enjoy a very special Thanksgiving this year and, while your table may be small, may your celebration overflow with shared gratitude and an abundance of God’s goodness and love.

I am thankful for each of you for being a part of our NDA community!

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