Morning After Thanksgiving: I Want to Stop Feeling Sorry.
The morning after Thanksgiving, I woke up feeling sorrier for myself than ever — sorry my father had opted not to be a part of my life, sorry my brother has been an asshole my whole life, sorry I was bullied in primary school and it resulted in me becoming intolerably defensive and sometimes abrasive, sorry I’ve been divorced twice, and sorry for every other misfortune life had malevolently targeted me with while subsequently giving everything I ever wanted and had tried desperately to attain to everyone else, many of whom had not proven any more deserving than I.
And as I lay in bed on my back with streams of the biggest, warmest tears running down the sides of my face dampening my hair and pillow, the most miraculous thing happened. I wanted to stop feeling sorry. Forever. Once and for all.
Although my body was too heavy to lift out of bed, and my mind was convinced, as it had been more often than not over the past couple of years, that I should stay in bed if I wanted to be safe from the indiscriminate cruelty of the world, I grabbed my phone, opened the notes, and began to type this list:
- Thank you that I can operate, move, my own body.
- Thank you that I can pay my rent.
- Thank you that I am still a part of my children’s lives.
- Thank you for the one person who’s demonstrated her love unconditionally.
- Thank you for my children’s health.
- Thank you for my mother’s longevity.
- Thank you for finally allowing her to have a caring and committed partner.
- Thank you for my children’s academic capacity and that they have no physical impairments.
- Thank you that my bills are paid with a little left over.
- Thank you that my car runs, and I have a backup.
- Thank you for quiet and space.
- Thank you for comfortable access to food and groceries.
- Thank you for gas money.
With each line of gratitude added to my list, my energy began to shift, and my sadness and disappointment weren’t as heavy anymore. I could feel my interpretation of the world evolving with each line I typed. I was beginning to realize that I have everything I need. I always have.
I had developed a bitter and resistant relationship with God because he had not served as the cosmic genie I had all but been promised in church my whole life. My prayers and fasting had repeatedly failed to produce miracles, so I attempted to drown my dreams in alcohol and placate them with unhealthy relationships.
But that morning, my understanding was different. I lay in my bed and learned to stop asking for more and start being thankful for what I already have. I learned to appreciate my life the morning after Thanksgiving, and only after I did could I place my feet on the floor to begin my day.
While I no longer subscribe to the “ask and ye shall receive” entitlement theory, I no longer believe I have to. I believe that the Universe — or whatever one chooses to call the Creator and Sustainer of life — gives to me generously and nurtures me intimately without my having to ask. It knows what I need and will never fail to deliver with optimal timing.
I got peace for Thanksgiving, and for that, I am eternally grateful.
Toi Davenport is a daughter, single mother, and educator who aspires to make the world a little better by sharing a piece of herself with everyone who is quick to receive and slow to criticize. She believes that wisdom gained the hard way is worth sharing if it has the potential to alter perspectives or at least encourage contemplation. She enjoys scenic outdoor lounging, journaling, and quiet time.