On this Thanksgiving day, I am reminded of a lovely little roadside altar we happened upon early during our walk. In the simple stone structure was a large cross, its base piled with shells, stones, flowers, notes–typical pilgrim offering. There was also a plea (prayer? reminder?) written in Sharpie:
Basically, be grateful for twelve things before you go to Santiago. But why do we practice gratitude just before a pilgrimage? Or why just on Thanksgiving? These are the things I am most grateful for, every every day (not twelve, because we all have better things to do today).
- Andrew, Alex and Sam. My partners-in-crime, my lights, the best things I have ever done in my life. I am honored that you keep me around.
- My family. Includes my parents (all five of you!), my brothers (yes, JP & Chase, you both count), and any and all cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews etc related to me by blood or marriage. I may not always call or write, but I think of you often and love you to pieces.
- My friends. The Squirrel-that-is-me is a rather shy and solitary animal, prone to bolting at loud noises or sudden movements. So for that reason alone, anyone who has made it past my prickly and anti-social exterior deserves a medal. Thank you all for putting up with my crazy, especially since you’re not paid to.
- My health. The fact that I am still standing after five weeks of near-constant walking and physical stress is a testament to the resilience of the human body. I was expecting my heart to explode weeks ago (take THAT, traditional Western doctor who said my high blood pressure could only be treated with drugs!), but instead I feel stronger than I have in years. One point for the Camino Diet.
- Our clients. It takes a lot of faith to work with someone across the world, rather than across the hall. Thank you to our many clients who have gracefully worked around the time differences, the delayed Skype calls, and the general strangeness of a long-distance relationship with the Hills. You have made this year possible for us.