For the last ten days I’ve been really sick. I didn’t know what was wrong. I figured some sort of gastroenteritis. I lost 10 pounds. I felt weak and got winded walking up a flight of stairs. I couldn’t eat anything for the first five days and when I did it was something white – toast, crackers, conghee, plain yogurt.
While I was in the midst of this illness, I went to dinner at my brother’s house. I was feeling okay enough to leave the house and it was a special occasion. My nephew was returning to college after his winter break. I wanted to see him off.
My sister in law prepared a gorgeous meal – meat lasagna and salad with hazelnuts, beets, and cambozola cheese. It looked delicious but I couldn’t eat it. I brought along a Ziploc baggie of saltines. My sister in law playfully laid my crackers out on my plate in floral design in an effort to make my sad meal look a little more appetizing.
After dinner, the subject of gratitude came up so we decided to share what we were grateful for. We each took a turn and talked about our own things but also spoke of each person at the table and what we were thankful for about them. It was beautiful and touching. I’d done this before, but hadn’t ever included giving gratitude for each person at the table.
Although I couldn’t eat the beautiful dinner that everyone else enjoyed, I was nourished immensely with that meal. My heart was filled by the sharing. I was touched to hear things I hadn’t heard before and renewed to hear things I already knew in my heart. I walked away full. It was nourishment of a different kind, of spirit and love.
We’re often in search of things to nourish us. We try filling up with things that are empty – sugar, alcohol, bad relationships…the list goes on. We stuff ourselves with these empty calories and experiences hoping that we’ll feel good, that we’ll feel full and complete, but we don’t. We keep stuffing and as a result we don’t even know how bad we feel anymore.
It’s amazing how a simple, open exchange of gratitude for the people we have in our lives and what we have in our lives, can fill us up. Can leave us whole.
Who are you thankful for in your life? Have you told them lately? Do they know how grateful you are for them? Perhaps it’s time to tell them.