26 November 2009

Thanksgiving (The Glad Game)

If you've ever seen the film Pollyanna, or seen the UK TV adaptation, or read the book, you will know all about 'The Glad Game'. It's a game Pollyanna played with her father, when she needed cheering up, and taught her to see the positives in the things around her.

I work with quite a few Americans, and as it is Thanksgiving today, I thought it would be a good time to make a list of 10 things for which I am thankful, and which make me glad.

1. I am thankful for my family.
I am glad of my mum's spirit & determination. I am glad I inherited my dad's ability to be comfortable alone. I am glad my brother is working, even though he lost his full time job some time ago. I am glad he married Diane, whose fun, humour and love of horses all make her easy to like. And I am glad they had Ben - now 10 years old. Ben has to be the world's greatest nephew. (What do you mean I'm biased...) Because of him I am a proud aunt and I hope and pray for nothing more or less than that he should be happy in the choices he makes for his life. I probably don't tell any of them enough how much they all mean to me.

2. I am thankful for my friends.
I've been quite a solitary sort all my life and have never been especially comfortable in big groups, so I've never had masses of friends. But the ones I have... well... they're quality! Quite seriously, I know they would go extra miles for me, as would I for them.

3. I am thankful for my work colleagues.
I have a great assistant who makes me glad about something or other almost every day. I work with great people in my department. We don't get on all of the time about everything, but I know each of them has integrity, committment and concern for their fellows. That makes me very, very glad. And I know that there are lots of workplaces where this is not the case. I work with great people internationally, some of whom have become friends as well as colleagues. So I am especially thankful.

4. I am thankful to have been able to travel worldwide.
I am not a risk taker or an adventurer, but my job has meant I have travelled to many wonderful places. I've done some travelling 'just because', but I've done far more 'on business'. It has been hard work, but it has also meant I have seen a whale while sailing off of Cape Town, I've seen the sun set over Lake Taupo in New Zealand, I have seen the Sydney Opera House, I have met some wonderful people - and here's the rub: mostly it has been because other people saw potential in me, and pushed me. Pushed me into taking scary job changes. Twice. I am very VERY thankful to have had people around me whose belief in my abilities has changed my life.

5. I am thankful for my home.
It is not my 'dream home', but within its walls I am sheltered, fed, warm and safe. I'm glad that it's small and compact because it means I have an affordable mortgage. I'm glad it's a 'house in a community' and that my neighbours chat to me over the garden walls. I'm glad it's somewhere my friends can come and feel welcomed.

6. I am thankful for my education.
Most of all, I am thankful that I can read. There are too many reasons to list as to why this is so important to me.

7. I am thankful for photography!
I'm glad I can take time to look at things with a 'photographer's eye'. I'm glad I have some creative goals to work towards. I'm glad of all the things I've seen which I've found beautiful or interesting, because I've been out with a camera.

8. I'm thankful for music.
The CD changer in my car often has a very weird mix of CDs. But that means I can almost always find something to suit my mood. I'm glad of all those who've influenced my musical tastes over the years. And I'm glad of those piano and cornet lessons. Although I play neither instrument now they taught me a lot about music. So did singing in choirs.

9. I am thankful for my faith, and that I have the freedom to believe, and to express that belief.
I grew up going to church every week, and I made my own decision to believe when I was about ten. The shape of my faith has changed over the years. So has the way I express it. Sometimes I've asked hard questions. Sometimes I've struggled. But I end up still believing.

10. I am thankful for 'cult TV'!
Yes, I'm a sucker for those old TV series which get re-run on out of the way digital channels. Stuff like 'Touched by an Angel' which makes me think, and laugh, & sometimes cry. Stuff like Cadfael, because I love the storytelling & character interaction. Stuff like Merlin, for the same reasons. And pretty much all the BBCs 'Austen' adaptations - I love period dramas! And I am glad of DVDs and PVRs which mean I really have no excuse for watching total dross (ok, ok!), although I do watch too much TV generally...

So those are my ten. Some serious & some less so. Not in any particular order. And I've probably gone on a bit. Sorry about that.

Question: What is the one thing you are most thankful for at this moment?

1 comment:

  1. Great list, Anne! You've completely captured the spirit of Thanksgiving.

    At the moment, I think I'm most grateful for/glad about:

    1. Airplanes - I know they contribute a shocking amount to my carbon footprint, but without them I never would have travelled or met my husband, nor would I be able to see my friends and family so often now that I live so far away. Every time I fly it occurs to me what a privilege it is to live in a time when air travel is even possible.

    2. Modern medicine.

    3. Rights and Freedoms. I just received an absentee ballot in the post today to vote in a replacement for Senator Ted Kennedy. As a woman, I feel so grateful to the women who fought so bravely so that I could have the right to contribute to decisions like this. And I feel blessed that I've never had to fear violence or repercussions for a vote I cast.

    4. My job. I like to work and in the best economic conditions I'm glad to have work to do, so when times are tough, it's hard not to feel especially lucky.

    5. Family and friends - my treasures, of course!