(Photo taken by Liz, when she visited Ireland in 2012)
My daughter Liz loved her time in the University of Delaware. On campus they actually have an ice cream store that the students run, making the ice cream from the milk of the cows on the campus farm, which is right next to the store.
One day we visited the store and then walked a few yards away to see the cows. Near us was a woman who had just bought her toddler granddaughter some ice cream. They were also walking toward the farm. I heard the woman say to the little girl, "Now we'll go thank the cows for the milk." It seemed to me that it was a routine for them, visiting the cows, and "thanking them for the milk," after they got their ice cream. It struck me that at such a young age, this child was being taught the joy, and the reward of feeling - and expressing gratitude.
In life we go through crises and hardships that can make it hard for us to feel any sense of gratitude. Yet, even while we're going through the pain, we may feel overwhelmed, and yes, even grateful for the love and support others bring to us. So what is it that helps us recover from pain? Is it love? Community? Inner strength? Higher power?
This Thanksgiving families who have suffered losses recently will be sitting together, and yet will be feeling a kind of peace and comfort, strength from the love and support of those around them. Our pain does not go away but somehow we figure out how to live with it.
I guess for that we should be grateful.
I wish everyone a reflective and purposeful Thanksgiving. Thank you for reading this. And, let's thank the cows, for the milk.