In my time away from blogging, I’ve continued to contemplate this notion of gratitude. I’ve posited how our close/small family units or ties might be underappreciated as places to find gratitude. I often hear, either at my own table or through other people’s stories, how grateful we are for family. But how does this gratitude find its way into the internal spaces of our essences? I have also been persuaded to reconsider the impact of family experience, expectations and contextual realities by a recent viewing again of the film, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.”
I thank God for my family often. But embarrassingly for the first time, I have spent time savoring each member’s interaction with my life – that is to say, their individual contributions of spiritual endowment. My assessment does not disregard the gifts of materiality, time and familial affection. Actually, it is those things that I think folks are usually referring to when they say they are grateful for their families.
In listing my findings, I realize that I’m challenged to accept that the order of my list also speaks to an embedded social construct.
In my Dad I am grateful for the ways he is fiercely determined to support his family, to speak out against pre-defined notions of justice; for his high regard for personhood and independence.
My mom has shared her unconditional love, presence, faithfulness, steadfastness, resourcefulness, creativity and patience. And I will remember her stubbornness as a cultural gift. LOL.
My sister, who has never liked being called “the baby,” embodies loyalty, perseverance, discipline and a very strong belief in the power of prayer.
My daughter, who is a gift from God that is as unmerited as salvation, has replaced the dark spots in my heart with memories/examples that bliss is possible. She has imparted a sense of beauty, gentleness, creativity and an intense love for the natural things – joy, Creation, optimism, anticipation of the wonderful and enchantment.
I am also grateful for my family as a unit– for unencumbered love, resiliency, trust/assurance that I will NEVER be abandoned and a deep knowledge that I belong to them.