We often spend Thanksgiving in Omaha, Nebraska, which has one of the largest zoos in the country. Our family loves animals, so we went to visit. This year we had 18 people in our party, ranging in age from 2 to 86.
At the far end of the zoo, near the new elephant and zebra exhibit, things started to fall apart. Everyone was walking at different paces, so the group got spread out. People were getting tired and grouchy. Some wanted to see giraffes, kids wanted to see the train, some adults had to take work phone calls that somehow couldn’t wait, we weren’t sure where to go next. And the restaurant, where we planned to eat and regroup, was closed for the season.
In the midst of the grumpiness, our nanny, who is from South Africa, stopped and seemed a little distant. They’re playing my national anthem, she said.
We’d barely noticed the background music in the exhibit. But it was the South African national anthem–which includes verses in five languages: Xhosa, Zulu, Sesotho, Afrikaans, and English. And it was a really fun thing to notice, listen to, and learn a little about at the far end of the zoo as we regrouped from the hangry-ness of a long day.
May we all have moments of noticing and being thankful for the little important things in our lives.
For our family, Thanksgiving is a beautiful holiday, but also a busy one. This moment was a good reminder to not be so hurried or grumpy that we miss out. Slow down enough to be grateful.
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.
It turns what we have into enough, and more.
It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.
It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into
a friend. It turns problems into gifts, failures into successes, the
unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events.
It can turn an existence into a real life, and disconnected situations
into important and beneficial lessons. Gratitude makes sense of our
past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.
• Melody Beattie •
Have a great week!