Rising Park, Lancaster, Ohio


Several years ago, after dessert on Thanksgiving evening, while everyone sat around the table, pushed back in their chairs with stomachs protruding, our host, Lisa Watson, passed around paper and pens and asked us to write down what we were grateful for. I immediately cringed inside. Those things usually seem corny to me, and my spelling is atrocious. But I came up with a few things and jotted them down, thankful that we didn’t have to hand in the assignment. Instead, the guests took turns reading their lists. I was struck by the sincerity of the readings and the careful attention paid to one another. Several guests expressed gratitude for the lovely dinner and having a place to go on Thanksgiving.

The woman to my right mentioned stable health, which hinted at an ongoing struggle and filled the room with deeper meaning. Next to her sat Morrie, wearing his forty-year-old tweed sports jacket, “I’m ninety years old, and I don’t worry about small things anymore. I’m grateful for my wife and the life we had.” He paused for a long moment. “She died ten years ago, and I’m still here to talk about our life together.” I woke up the following morning thinking about Morrie’s story. He wasn’t bitter, though he clearly missed his wife. He was grateful for the love and life they shared. What a beautiful piece of alchemy, turning loss into appreciation.