before november

Stereotypical.  I received my final divorce papers on Halloween.  A day in which my car’s check engine light started to flash, so I dropped it, once again, at the garage.  Cold rain steadily fell.   I had a cold or some sort of ailment which made me feel worse than I have in over a year.  I knew the papers would be coming.  Perhaps via email or maybe by post.  They were awaiting in the mailbox that afternoon when my friend dropped me at my house.  Because of the whole check engine light thing……..

The day before November  I allowed myself to indulge in self pity, more than I have in an entire year.  A year of change and harshness, yet I tried as I might to not throw the pity party.  I don’t particularly care for people feeling sorry for me.  Pride and all that.  And I sort of prefer the British mantra – Keep Calm [you know the rest, and yes, I actually have the poster hanging in my kitchen.]  Chin up!  Life will eventually improve, correct?

Yet that evening I cried, in my living room as opposed to my shower.   I listened to my go to sad song more than once.  Which when I think about it, lyrically really didn’t fit the bill, but hey, it’s my sad song.    I watched a television show I enjoy and had a grilled cheese sandwich with a side of soup.  I was a little bit angry.  A little annoyed.  And most of all, plain sad.  I liken it to a state of mourning.  It’s not that I imagined my marriage would be reconciled or something miraculous would happen.  But it was the end of a long, long process of grieving.

Speaking of sandwiches, November is a sandwich month, so to speak.  People seem to really enjoy October, what with autumn leaves, football, colder temps.  And Halloween seems to be bigger than ever, not just some minor, make sure you watch It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown and dress up day it was in years gone by.  Then there’s December.  A celebratory month if there ever was one.  But November, it’s a 30 day-er that touts Election Day, which can be a bit divisive.  And Veteran’s Day, which could possibly elicit feelings of patriotism, and also make people miss those who’ve gone on.   And of course, Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays.  Probably because no gifts are involved.  And it’s acceptable to use rustic decorations.  In fact, a quick walk through the park can yield a center piece – pine cones, fallen leaves, branches, etc.  I like that it’s basically a celebration involving a meal.  The most organic of all human experiences…….gathering around a table.

This year, I entered November in a different state of being.  As you read above.  And while I try each November to focus on gratitude and thankfulness, I’m finding it rather difficult.  Sure, I have an abundance of blessings.  My children, friends, family, a home, a car [which most of the time I’m thankful for], a job doing meaningful work.  I am healthy and I have some nice clothes.

I so want to get to the center of it though.  Can I be thankful despite?  Learn to be content?  When I have a little and when I have much?  It seems there should be a simplicity in gratitude.  It’s perhaps not in the naming off a list of items that make my life seemingly complete.  Maybe it’s in an attitude of peace.  The knowledge that all is well and will always continue to be.  In a deep, deep place.  The source of gratitude.

This November I am reminded to focus.  Focus on the season and the gifts afforded me that are lasting.  Very little is.  Yet what is, is the most important.


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