Gratitude on a Full Stomach

On Thanksgiving, our family joined hundreds of others in downtown Philadelphia, bringing Thanksgiving meals to the less fortunate, with an organization called “Manna.” We traversed the city in two cars- with three generations- to use our time together to make a difference in the community.

Alongside our children, we knocked on people’s doors, delivered nourishment face-to-face,  observed what was around us while we drove through narrow streets, and imagined what it would be like to raise families there.

We returned in our heated cars, to our heated home, with plentiful food, family, and care to surround us in the afternoon and evening.

It was easy to notice our abundance when we were in the midst of ‘other.’

It is easy to express gratitude when we are sitting at a table of plenty. It is natural to take the time to send a quick text or email to say thank you when we have the privilege of having days off of work and school.

Beyond our full plates, full tables, and full tummies—when the dishwasher is being loaded an emptied (yet again), and another family meal is being planned for tonight–  when we start to return to work and to our busy lives, how do we remember to keep the gratitude awareness in our every day?

The Hebrew term, הכרת הטוב (pronounced hakarat ha-tov) literally means ‘taking notice of the good.’ It is not just saying ‘thank you’ but actually taking notice.

How do we take notice of the abundance we have in our everyday lives?

How do we take notice of the people that give us the support to create lives of meaning?

How do we take notice of ordinary moments with our friends and loved ones?

How do we take notice of the good, when the world can seem so broken?

How do we elevate each day so we live with the intention of hakarat hatov?

My challenge to each of us is this- Take ordinary moments, and notice what is extraordinary. Acknowledge in ordinary spaces, what we are thankful for. Create a practice of gratitude, even (and especially) when things are most challenging.

I recently learned of a colleague that would end each day of work with three phone calls to say thank you. What would it look like if each of us took extra time to write notes or to make personal phone calls in ordinary moments? What if we helped others feel noticed, even in times that were not specifically designated to say ‘thanks’ or ‘I am thinking of you?’

On the day after Thanksgiving, I am thankful.

Today I am thankful for our teachers and students. I am thankful for our Board of Directors, volunteers, and donors. I am thankful for David and Irene, and for all of the individuals that make our team complete. I am thankful for what has been, and what is to come. I am grateful for the miracles and synchronicities that have brought us all together at this moment in time.

And I am filled with a deep sense of gratitude for you.

Thank you for being part of this Kabbalah Experience.

With gratitude,

Melanie

2 Comments

Claudia r Trevithick · November 29, 2019 at 1:03 pm

What a beautiful mitzvah your family did.

Trudi Linas · November 29, 2019 at 4:15 pm

Thank you for reaching out to all of us, too! We have to practice gratitude as a work out for our souls- just as we workout our bodies. This is the perfect season to start. Will try!

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