Thanksgiving always seems to occur out of the blue, and this year was no different. One minute it’s summer and the weather is warm. You blink, and the leaves are changing. Blink again, and daylight savings time ends. And then you wake up, and it’s Thanksgiving.
My family differs from most: We don’t eat turkey on Thanksgiving. We like turkey, but we also like to be a little different. It’s not uncommon for us to eat steak or fajitas.
But as important as food is during holidays, more important is what Thanksgiving represents: gratitude for everything in our lives.
Being thankful is something I’ve been working on for months, mainly because I realize that time and life are precious. It’s been more than a year since my wife, Jill, was diagnosed with Huntington’s disease. And it’s been less than a year since our daughter tested as gene-positive for this terminal illness.
Time marches on. It’s relentless. But what do we do with that time? I’ve chosen to live each day with the deep understanding that I need to be grateful.
You don’t have to make turkey the main dish on Thanksgiving, and you can dare to be different and see each day as the gift that it is. When faced with life’s obstacles — or when life is going well — it’s easy to forget how important it is to give thanks on a daily basis.
As a writer who loves words, I find it helpful to understand the origins of a word. “Thank” stems from the Latin tongēre. Tong means “think,” or remember what you’ve done for me.
G.K. Chesterton, an English writer and philosopher, put it this way: “I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”
I am happier when I focus on giving thanks every day. I am filled with wonder. The other day, my wife and I were watching television. Out of the blue, she leaned over, kissed me, and said that she loved me. The moment was pure because it happened suddenly, without any buildup. I find myself doing unexpected things for her as well.
It makes us happy to share that we love each other. It fills me with wonder to know how lucky I am that she is in my life. And how precious that life is every day that we are both alive.
My advice: Don’t blink and realize you’ve missed Thanksgiving. Keep your eyes and your heart open, and make every day a day of thanks.
Note: Huntington’s Disease News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Huntington’s Disease News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Huntington’s disease.