"An American tradition: Kill some Indians with small pox, kill a turkey, stuff your gut till you get indigestion, take Pepcid, trap family members together for an extended period of time destroying relationships, and then get up the next day and trample each other to death as you try to be the first to get the discounted flat screen TV at Walmart…"
There have been times that I have appreciated that sentiment, as I have been stuck in insanely long security lines at the airport trying to get home for the weekend or have nearly been trampled in pushy crowds at Whole Foods fighting over whose tofurky is whose. Alas, not this year. Being abroad for the second time on the day of the turkey, I've actually spent the day alone, relaxing, and mentally drifting towards the more grateful intent of the holiday.
Earlier in the year, amidst all of the personal turbulence that I was going through, I was rehearsing the Evening Hymn with Myra for one of our recitals. I found that I couldn't get much past the first couple of pages of the song without starting to cry. It was one of those magical moments of epiphany – one of those moments when a song suddenly becomes personal and makes sense in a new, clearer, and shockingly more specific way. I had been feeling so exhausted and was so overcome with guilt and heartbreak processing the fact that my personal life had exploded so terribly, and as I sang, my thoughts drifted to all that was still amazing in my life despite the turmoil on the surface of things. The knowledge that, even though I was feeling devastated, there were still so many people and things to turn to for comfort overwhelmed me with gratitude.
It's been a tough year, but it's also been extraordinary, filled with astounding revelations and great lessons. Since that moment with the Evening Hymn, I've been a bit preoccupied with thankfulness. It's so easy to focus on the negative for all of us – it's a really great thing to have a holiday that is meant for us to adjust our focus to the blessings in our lives.
I'm grateful to be loved so deeply by a great many people. I'm grateful to love a great many people in return. I'm grateful for the lessons I've learned over the past months about life, love and music. I'm grateful for a loving and extremely supportive family. I'm grateful for the wonderful and generous colleagues I've had over the past year who have taught me so much and provided so much fun. I'm grateful for my laptop and my iphone, which keep me connected to those close to my heart yet far away on the map. I'm grateful for a new apartment to come home to next week. I'm grateful for Glee, which has kept me laughing at my loneliest moments abroad this fall. I'm grateful for friends and loved ones who inspire. I'm grateful for the unexpected surprises that came my way this year. I'm grateful for a life in music.
And that's just to name a few of the things that I'm thankful for.
To everyone back home (and a few abroad): May you have a very Happy Thanksgiving - I hope you have just as much and more to be grateful for.