The music cranked up and my feet started stepping back and forth, my long arms pumping up and down. I felt strong in my Nikes, Lululemons, and Monty Python bloody bunny graphic tee. I love starting the week with Zumba. Part of my workout routine has become variations on the sentiment “thank you for my health, for my body, for this practice, and that I get to do this.”
I grinned, silently beginning the words to my inner prayer, a sort of ritual of gratitude I’ve adopted over the years. “Thank you for this aagghhhh.” My feet kept moving to the beat, but my brain scratched like a record. I felt tears burn hotter than my muscles and I gritted my teeth. Damn. My legs kept the beat, but I no longer felt connected to my body, my betrayer.
Here we are in this month of thankfulness and I’m having to relearn how to be thankful. I used to thank God for my work, but then that took a major hit in the pandemic balls, and I shifted my thankfulness to my health. After all, I may not have much in the way of work but I have my health, and with the world getting sick, that’s not something to take for granted.
Only I am no longer healthy.
I handle big things really well. Little things will make me lose my mind but the bigger things are, the calmer I get.
Everything is fine. Just let me reattach this severed limb, pull the axe out of my skull, and shove my intestines back in my abdomen. See? Right as rain. As the Black Knight says in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, “Tis but a scratch… just a flesh wound.”
I sat my kids down and told them, “I’m going to say a scary word but I’m not scared, and I’m going to be fine.” Then I told them about breast cancer and proceeded to make one million boob jokes till everyone was laughing.
I am okay, I’m going to be okay, but during this month of Thanksgiving, I’m acutely aware that my practice of gratitude is changing. In some ways, health issues are teaching me a healthier way to give thanks.
My thankfulness is becoming more in the moment, boiling it down to this very minute. Thank you for the ability to move my body TODAY. Thank you for my current Zumba that is happening exactly now, because all future Zumbas are not guaranteed.
No more sweeping gestures. No more grand statements of thankfulness. It’s smaller but in some ways these micro-thanks are more significant for the way I’m gleaning each day for them.