I'm having a rare, very picturesque holiday moment right now. The house is toasty with the glow of the woodstove and delicious smells waft by; the turkey is brining; the baby is napping; and the big kids are relaxing with daddy. Sure, the floor is filthy and a million other things that need to be tidied are calling my name...but this moment is too delicious not to lean into it a little.
A picturesque holiday moment, and perhaps also a stereotypical one, as I've been reflecting on the theme of being thankful. *Cue sentimental music* Seriously, though, too often we're prompted to consider thankfulness only through the lens of loss - only in comparison to the misfortune, tragedy, loss, grief, and trials of the rest of the world. Kind of like how I only remember how extremely grateful I am for good health when I've narrowly avoided a brush with influenza, or how we may pause to remember how lucky we are to have a home to keep us warm and safe only after listing to stories of home fires and homelessness on the news. Basically, it's the "eat your vegetables; there are starving children in India" vibe in a nutshell.
Not that this a bad thing, necessarily. It's kind of unavoidable, and am empathic awareness of others and the global community is something to strive for in many ways. But the ever-presence of this lens came into focus recently as I've caught glimpses of a different kind of thankfulness.
It's a pure sensation. It's elation and joy, and a momentary suspension of fear and trepidation. It is completely of the moment, and it's likely to cause goose bumps.
I was invited to document a friend's redeployment ceremony earlier this month as he returned from a nine-month deployment to Afghanistan. This image, which I took moments after he was finally returned to his family's arms, is what first struck this Thankful chord.
Alan's face. He is completely and totally present. He's not thinking about the last nine months or the next five minutes; he is completely in that moment. It's a strange kind of zen to find in the middle of a heart-wrenching event, but I think it makes it all the more remarkable. His face says it all.
And so today I've been thinking about how fortunate I am to have access to these moments of pure thankfulness, even if only to document them. And I thought I'd share a couple of them here.
Happy thanksgiving, everyone.