My favorite holiday of the year is Thanksgiving because, for me at least, it's about the gathering of friends and family to share love, good food, and appreciation for each other. We don't have to buy gifts or lavishly decorate for the occasion. We just have to show up, maybe with a bottle of wine or a home-cooked dish to share. We meet. We hug. We talk. We eat. And we promise to do it all again soon--or at least the next year.
We show gratitude when we act in a way that shows appreciation for others. I learned about gratitude and giving from two important women in my life, my mother and my favorite grandmother, my dad's mom. They were both thankful for many things, but "thankful" is a feeling. "Gratitude" is an action, and their actions toward others in sharing what they had showed their pleasure in just being alive and helping other people. I saw my mother one hot, summer day invite a homeless person--a boxcar train traveler (we called them hobos)--to sit on our back porch while she fed him food she had fixed for lunch. He asked for seconds--and she obliged. He said he was thankful for her actions because he hadn't eaten in several days. My grandmother--an amazing cook--was one of the first people at her First Christian Church to offer help to those who needed it. She brought flowers from her garden or chicken and dumplings or one of her wonderful pies. The actions of both of these women showed gratitude to other people throughout their lives.
Yes, at Thanksgiving we are thankful--at least I hope we are. Are we also grateful and willing to assist others? That's one way we can show thankfulness. Because WSI is a not-for-profit organization, we are required to share our talents with others. There are programs under way to help us implement that sharing and show our gratitude for our love of art and our ability to convey that talent to others.
My suggestion--volunteer. Sign up to show others the love you have for art and the joy it can bring to be able to create something belonging uniquely to the person who created it. If you are not only thankful but also grateful, share your gifts.
And have a lovely Thanksgiving.
But that's just my opinion.
PS: Paint beautiful things.